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Top Antivir Med. 2011 May-Jun;19(2):38-46.

HIV epidemiology and breakthroughs in prevention 30 years into the AIDS epidemic.

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  • 1University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Thirty years after the first AIDS cases were reported in the United States, the HIV epidemic continues to be heavily concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States. MSM are heavily impacted throughout most of the world and are the predominant risk group throughout the Americas and Western Europe; heterosexuals are the predominant risk group in sub-Saharan Africa; and injection drug users predominate throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. In the United States, blacks and Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected, despite overall advances in HIV testing and care. The 2011 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections focused on populations heavily impacted throughout the world: adolescents, women, MSM, and serodiscordant couples. Several presentations focused on the unique relationship between herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and HIV-1; although many opportunistic infections increase HIV acquisition risk, HSV-2 is likely the only one whose effective prevention or treatment could substantially influence HIV infection rates, because of the high prevalence and persistence of HSV-2. The 2011 conference also celebrated the substantial advances made in the use of antiretroviral drugs for prevention of HIV acquisition (eg, oral preexposure prophylaxis, topical microbicides) and transmission (eg, antiretroviral therapy). Further progress is also being made in evaluating other prevention strategies and their rollout, including male condoms, male circumcision, and HIV testing and linkage to care.

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