On the Web
The AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service has data on the latest HIV treatment.

There are two different types of viral load testing.

The National AIDS Treatment Information Project provides information about CD4 counts.

A Department of Health and Human Services agency confirmed in March that triple therapy can delay HIV disease progression.

The 52 AIDS Drug Assistance Programs vary greatly from state to state.

The International Council of AIDS Service Organizations provides periodic updates on the international AIDS situation.

From The Post
Recent HIV and AIDS articles from The Post are available online.

From the AP
Related articles from the Associated Press are available online.

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Hope and Disappointment

Karen Lyons
Two years ago, Karen Lyons was sick with AIDS. After beginning triple-drug therapy, she became well enough to start a career in social work. By Nancy Andrews/TWP
The Series

Part 1: Hope and Disappointment

Part 2: On the Front Line

Part 3: Stopping the Virus

Part 4: The Hunt for a Vaccine

Part 5: Third World Despair

Related Articles

Treatment Holds Death at Bay

As Epidemic Matures, the Battle Shifts

For most of the 15 years since AIDS entered our vocabulary, this odd acronym built around a word for help has been the quintessential symbol for helplessness.

Now, things are changing. They're changing because — in the most literal sense — the global epidemic is becoming mature.

The days when the death count from AIDS rose every year everywhere are gone. So are the days when the disease's inner workings seemed to defy understanding or scientific decoding. Gone also, in some places at least, is the sense of impotence many AIDS sufferers, and the doctors who cared for them, felt as they faced the disease.

Today, in many parts of the world, the AIDS epidemic burns less fiercely than in the past. A decade and a half of research has brought insight, and finally treatment of unexpected potency, to bear against the disease. The monotonous pessimism AIDS called forth in the early years of the epidemic has been replaced by a diverse mix of hope, accommodation and resignation.

A series of articles in The Washington Post over the next five days will sketch a picture of this new world of AIDS.

Last year, approximately 22.6 million people around the world were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, or its late stage, AIDS. There were 3 million new infections, the vast majority in people younger than 25, and almost half of them in women.

Despite those huge numbers, however, the epidemic has actually leveled off in many places.

The incidence of new infection peaked in the United States in the 1980s. Last year for the first time, deaths from AIDS fell in this country, and experts believe that event marks the start of a trend.

The rate of new infection has also peaked in Europe, Australia and Latin America. Even in Africa, where the disease emerged and has caused the greatest devastation, the rate of new HIV incidence has reached a plateau, or is about to. In each of those regions, however, there continue to be places or populations where the disease is still spreading rapidly.

Today, the greatest growth of HIV infection is in Asia. In India in particular, incidence is climbing steeply. It is also rising in China, the great wild card of the epidemic that has avoided the onslaught so far but may not forever. Even in Asia, however, there are places (such as Thailand) where HIV's explosive growth has stopped.

Article Continues

© 1997 The Washington Post Company

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