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Evolution of an epidemic

By RON BRACKETT
Published June 5, 2006


Twenty-five years ago today, federal health officials quietly reported something alarming: Five men in Los Angeles had a rare strain of pneumonia, and entirely lacked the natural defenses to fight it.

Scientists later learned that when the report came out, thousands of Americans already were infected with what would come to be known as AIDS.

In the past quarter-century, more than 25-million people have died in the worldwide epidemic and nearly 40-million are estimated to be living with HIV. Women and children, especially in developing countries, make up an ever-increasing portion of those affected by what first was seen mostly in gay men.

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facts about aids

What's next?

TESTING: The CDC is expected to recommend soon that as part of routine medical care, every American ages 13 to 64 be tested for HIV at least once.

VACCINES: There are more than 30 therapeutic vaccine candidates that would try to stop HIV from progressing to AIDS. Most scientists agree it will take decades to create a successful vaccine.

To learn more