Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 187–193 | Cite as

The History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Africa

  • Joseph Kagaayi
  • David SerwaddaEmail author
The Global Epidemic (SH Vermund, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on The Global Epidemic


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.


Africa History Stigma HIV prevalence Antiretroviral therapy Combination prevention 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Joseph Kagaayi and David Serwadda declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rakai Health Sciences ProgramUganda Virus Research InstituteEntebbeUganda
  2. 2.Makerere University School of Public HealthKampalaUganda

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