In this lecture, I will be presenting the epidemiology of HIV and AIDS,
its transmission and risk factors,
and provide a current update of recent trends that point to
the potential of achieving the goal of containment of this epidemic in the coming years.
But first, let me introduce myself.
I'm William A. Blattner.
I'm a medical physician.
I've been involved in the HIV epidemic since before 1981,
as my group was involved in the detection of one of
the first cases of kaposi sarcoma before
the June 1981 CDC publication that identified the first cases of pneumocystis.
Since then I've been a member of the team the co-discover the HIV virus.
Subsequently, I went on to co-found
the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine.
I recently transitioned from my academic posts as a full professor
to now being involved as a consultant through Saltrun Global Health and Research.
Since 1981, over 60 million persons worldwide have become
infected and are living with or have died from HIV infections.
Shown in this slide is an electron micrograph and a schematic of the HIV virus.
It's a lenti retrovirus.
It has an RNA genome that uses an enzyme of the virus to make a DNA copy,
and thus is able to become part of the genetic material of the host target cell.
Thus, HIV in essence,
becomes a new gene within the body,
which explains why it's been so difficult to totally
eliminate the virus from persons who are infected,
and thus the challenge that is facing medical science in achieving a cure.
But that having been said,
as I'll detail later,
treatments have become very effective and have created
a circumstance where people can live a full life on antiretroviral therapy.
In the meantime, the virus because of its great ability to change,
which is hundreds or thousands or millions of times more diverse than even the flu virus,
for example, have hampered the ability to develop a preventative vaccine.