The History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Africa
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HIV testing of African immigrants in Belgium showed that HIV existed among Africans by 1983. However, the epidemic was recognized much later in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) due to stigma and perceived fear of possible negative consequences to the countries’ economies. This delay had devastating mortality, morbidity, and social consequences. In countries where earlier recognition occurred, political leadership was vital in mounting a response. The response involved establishment of AIDS control programs and research on the HIV epidemiology and candidate preventive interventions. Over time, the number of effective interventions has grown; the game changer being triple antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART has led to a rapid decline in HIV-related morbidity and mortality in addition to prevention of onward HIV transmission. Other effective interventions include safe male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and post-exposure prophylaxis. However, since none of these is sufficient by itself, delivering a combination package of these interventions is important for ending the HIV epidemic as a public health threat.
KeywordsAfrica History Stigma HIV prevalence Antiretroviral therapy Combination prevention
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Conflict of Interest
Joseph Kagaayi and David Serwadda declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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