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Chapter 12

Managing the HIV Epidemic in the Developing World – Progress and Challenges

The identification of the first few cases of acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV in the early 1980s heralded the start of a global epidemic of unprecedented proportions. It soon became clear that the developing world, especially sub-Saharan Africa, is bearing the brunt of the epidemic, thereby further increasing the public health impact of the disease.

Since the initial cases of AIDS and the discovery of HIV, significant progress has been made in understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of HIV and combating the infection. The discovery and development of multiple drugs to treat HIV infection, thereby turning the disease into a chronic manageable condition, less than 30 years after the discovery of the causative virus, is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of modern medical science.

However, there is no room for complacency, as much remains to be done in the fields of both prevention and treatment of HIV. Key ongoing needs are new drugs to treat drug-resistant virus, management of long-term complications of antiretroviral therapy, management of HIV infection in the context of ageing, and the treatment of HIV-induced chronic immune activation and its consequences. Large numbers of patients in the developing world do not yet have access to even basic antiretroviral therapy or are sub-optimally managed. Further research on the optimal and most cost-effective strategies for managing HIV infection in resource-limited settings is urgent. It is up to those engaged in research to continue to lead the way to resolving these remaining issues.

Print publication date: 04 Nov 2011
Copyright year: 2012
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-192-8
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-349-6
From the book series:
Drug Discovery