Forty years ago, on June 5, 1981, American scientists first described a rare form of pneumonia in five gay men. It was in the medical bulletin of the CDC, the American health centers. These 5 men were young, healthy and gay. Of the patients identified, two died. This disease will later be called AIDS.
In 1982, researchers found a name for this disease: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is found to be transmitted through semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk.
In 1983, the cause of the disease was identified. It’s the HIV virus.
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It was not until 1987 that the first antiretroviral drug (AZT) began to be used in the United States. But the side effects, especially anemia, are numerous. In 1995, other more effective treatments marked a turning point, and the following year the number of deaths from the disease fell for the first time. But patients have to take 12-16 pills a day, which makes them sick.
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In 2012, the US Medicines Agency authorized PrEP, a preventive treatment prescribed to people at high risk of being exposed to possible infection. This leads to a sharp drop in transmission rates.