AIDS turned 27 on June 5th. While the number of AIDS-related deaths has declined over the years, especially after the advent of HAART regimens in the mid-nineties, the number of new infections is currently increasing. Every year 40,000 Americans become infected with HIV. Half of the newly diagnosed are gay men.
Factors that contribute to these statistics are characteristic to a modern-day AIDS epidemic determined, among others, by today’s AIDS complacency, by AIDS being a manageable disease and not anymore the imminent death sentence it was during its early years, or by the misconceptions regarding the what it takes, today, to live with the virus. So, is HIV still a big deal?
Some AIDS-related online polls seem to agree that the work of those fighting the epidemic is far from over. Doctor Mary Ann Chiasson, epidemiologist and Vice President for Research and Evaluation with Public Health Solutions in New York City, has been working in the HIV/AIDS field since 1986. She explains that, when it comes to HIV/AIDS, some of the current statistics are not much different from those of 20 or 25 years ago.