HIV and AIDS Today
Since the first reports thirty years ago, the illness has become chronic and manageable as effective multi-drug treatments have reduced mortality. The AIDS crisis spurred new knowledge of retroviruses and the human immune system, the development of new laboratory techniques, and faster drug approval.
In addition, HIV and AIDS shifted sexual practices and the role of sex in identity. LGBT people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) became more accepted in society. Awareness of sexually transmitted infections made “safe sex” a familiar term and an expected behavior. AIDS drew attention to the interplay of poverty, race, and addiction with disease. The art and media created around the loss and tragedy profoundly influenced cultural practices and aesthetics.