In the 1980s and early 1990s, the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was tantamount to a death sentence, as there was no effective therapy available. Today, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is considered a chronic, effectively treatable condition, and HIV-positive individuals have an almost normal life expectancy if diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. So HIV therapy with highly active drugs is one of the great successes of modern medicine. We observe World AIDS Day on 1. December to look back on the history of HIV infection and the development of effective drugs against HIV, and to outline current challenges.
The AIDS as a disease (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome resp. acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) was described in 1981 as an emerging condition of unknown cause. Two years later, scientists succeeded in detecting the HI virus type 1 in a patient for the first time, and in 1986 the related HI virus type 2 was discovered.
The spreading HIV epidemic caused fear and terror in the early years and demanded Numerous deaths. At the same time, vibrant research efforts began to find drugs to fight the virus. In 1987, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval to the first antiretroviral drug, zidovudine (AZT). Studies have shown that the drug prolongs the life of patients but does not completely suppress viral replication.