30 years ago nobody knew it was AIDS. It hadn't been named then. 10 years later AIDS would have already decimated the gay male population, blood transfusion patients, intravenous drug users and children born to AIDS-infected parents.
Classified a retrovirus, and within that group a Lentivirus, HIV was named the cause of Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome. Retroviruses are tricky, as they change and mutate over time, making chemical therapy ineffective. Recent advances have helped people with AIDS live longer, but they are very expensive and not universally available. There is no cure and no vaccine, for AIDS, still. More than 30 million people have died of AIDS
World AIDS Day began in 1988 and since then, infection rates have dropped in "first world" countries. But in "third world" countries it is a leading cause of death. It is this awareness, that the pandemic isn't over, that AIDS is preventable and that education works, that's the focus of World AIDS Day.
Today I remember those I lost with love.
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