Multidisciplinary Approach to HIV/AIDS: Historical Perspective



It is probable that humans were first infected with HIV in the Kinshasa region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1950s and yet many decades later we are still studying and discovering how best to control what has become a global epidemic. One of the epicenters of the disease was in Miami when people with symptoms that were inexplicable in their particular populations became of interest to clinicians and scientists. This was occurring in other major cities, which also became the epicenters for this strange and destructive disease. This chapter highlights the history of one local region of the United States, Miami-Dade County, Florida and exemplifies the global problem. This chapter will indicate how local teams of scientists were called into action to address the impending epidemic. This is an example of how modern science can mobilize scientific teams that discover the origins and consequences of a highly complex disease. Eventually from that, scientific and medical foundations began to develop interventions for the control of HIV/AIDS and its related consequences.

Recounting the beginnings of the research locally demonstrates significantly the importance of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. The organizations responsible globally, nationally, and locally investigated many aspects of the populations that were afflicted with this communicable disease. Laboratory analysis proceeded in concert with the multiple strategies from clinics to neighborhood street outreach workers and then back into the laboratories. What happened in the city of Miami, and specifically at the University of Miami, is a story of how remarkable scientific endeavors can be and account for the effectiveness of science in the modern world. It also demonstrates how the scientific approach moves from the local to the national and then global level as its findings are disseminated to ensure verifiable evidence that is generalizable to global populations.


HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Risk activity Sex Drug abuse IDU NIDA Transmission Multidisciplinary Historical perspective 


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Theoretical DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  3. 3.Division of Infectious Disease and International Health, Department of Internal MedicineTampa General Hospital, University of South Florida, Morsani College of MedicineTampaUSA

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