Treating AIDS around the world
Thirty years ago this morning, Margaret Heckler, President Ronald Reagan’s Health and Human Services Secretary, rocked the world by announcing the discovery of the AIDS virus. Almost overnight, the discovery helped scientists explain how AIDS spread and how it didn’t. It enabled rich countries to secure their blood supplies and reduce hospital infections. And though science has yet to produce an effective vaccine, it has made the infection survivable.
The number of people receiving HIV treatment in low- and middle-income countries has grown 40-fold since 2002, reaching 9.7 million in 2012, and the global death toll has fallen steadily since peaking at 2.3 million 2004. Yet AIDS still causes 1.6 million needless deaths around the world each year. These images reveal the continuing impact of one of the worst plagues in human history.