Time line on HIV/AIDS treatment advances over the past 25 years

November 20, 2006
Heidi Belden, PharmD
Heidi Belden, PharmD

1981CDC reports a new pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii, in five gay men, later determined to be the first cases of AIDS
1983First recommendations made for preventing transmission of HIV through sexual contact and blood transfusions
1985First International AIDS Conference held in Atlanta, Ga.
1986Zidovudine (AZT) begins clinical trials as first drug to treat AIDS; Surgeon General calls for education and condom use; clean syringe distribution program begins in Boston and New Haven, Conn.
1987AZT approved by the FDA; FDA creates new class of experimental drugs, Investigational New Drugs, which accelerates drug approval by two to three years
1988International AIDS Society forms
1990FDA approves AZT for pediatric AIDS
1991CDC recommends restrictions on the practice of HIV-positive healthcare workers
1992First clinical trials of combination therapies; FDA licenses first rapid HIV test
1994U.S. Public Health Service recommends use of AZT by pregnant women
1995First PI, saquinavir (Fortovase, Roche), approved in record time by FDA beginning new era of highly active antiretroviral therapy
1996First NNRTI, nevirapine (Viramune, Boehringer Ingelheim), is approved; first viral load test approved; first HIV urine test approved; drug "cocktails" begin—patients take as many as 60 pills per day
1998Clinical trials begin for vaccine, AIDSVAX; HHS issues first national guidelines for use of antiretroviral therapy in adults
2000UNAIDS, WHO negotiate reduced drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers for use in developing countries
2001Generic drug manufacturers offer to produce discounted drugs for developing countries
2002Approval of Oraquick Rapid HIV—1 antibody test-first test to use finger prick
2003President Bush announces PEPFAR, President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, providing aid to other countries
2004First saliva-based HIV test approved
2005AZT's patent expires and FDA approves several generic versions
2006First single-pill, once-daily, triple-drug combination treatment approved (Atripla)

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