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Milestones and Recent Advances in HIV Research

This blog post was adapted from an article written by Nina Culum, MSc, and originally published by InsideScientfic.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) refers to a number of infections and illnesses that occur when the immune system has been compromised by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).1 Since the first known case in 1959, over 79.3 million people have been infected by HIV worldwide, and 36.3 million people have died from an AIDS-related illness.2

World AIDS Day Vector Artwork by Open Art; Source: shutterstock

HIV can be transmitted through the exchange of certain bodily fluids including semen, blood, breast milk and vaginal fluids.1 Common sources of HIV infection include unprotected sex and the sharing of needles. Importantly, HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, tears, sneezing nor ordinary physical contact such as hugging or kissing.

Despite the many advances made in AIDS research and therapies since the 1980s, stigma and misconceptions surrounding AIDS persist to this day. In honor of World AIDS Day, InsideScientific has set out to provide information on the historical significance of HIV and AIDS, highlight recent advances in anti-HIV therapy and describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment around the world.

Topics covered in this article include:

  • Historical significance
  • Identifying the cause of AIDS
  • Milestones in anti-HIV therapies
  • Recent advances in HIV therapy
  • Living with HIV in the era of COVID-19
  • Undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U) campaign

To read the full article, visit InsideScientific’s blog.

  1. UNAIDS [Internet]. HIV and AIDS – basic facts; 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 24]. Available from:
  2. UNAIDS [Internet]. Global HIV & AIDS statistics – fact sheet; 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 24]. Available from: