Although the first offical reporting of what we know now as AIDS took place in 1981, the first medication, Retrovir (zidovudine, or AZT), wasn’t approved until 1987. The advent of effective antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s was a pivotal breakthrough in the fight against HIV. Between 1996 and 1997, AIDS deaths plummeted 47% in the United States. Since then, the field has continued to witness advances that improve the lives of people living with and at risk for the virus.
There have been setbacks along the way, but we continue to make progress toward ending the epidemic. Here are our picks of the most important developments of the past decade.