Friday, June 02, 2006

World's Deadliest Epidemic May Become Deadlier
Friday, Jun. 2, 2006

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - It began innocuously, when a statistical anomaly pointed to a mysterious syndrome that attacked the immune systems of gay men in California. No one imagined 25 years ago that AIDS would become the deadliest epidemic in history.

Since June 5, 1981, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has killed more than 25 million people, infected 40 million others and left a legacy of unspeakable loss, hardship, fear and despair.

Its spread was hastened by ignorance, prejudice, denial and the freedoms of the sexual revolution. Along the way from oddity to pandemic, AIDS changed they way people live and love.

Slowed but unchecked, the epidemic's relentless march has established footholds in the world's most populous countries. Advances in medicine and prevention that have made the disease manageable in the developed world haven't reach the rest.
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