Up until the mid 90s there was no effective medical treatment to combat HIV. Then, scientists discovered a combination of antiretroviral medications (ARVs) also know as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can effectively stop HIV in its tracks.
Within four years, death rates for people with HIV in developed countries had dropped
by 84%. Now, if treatment is started early, these medicines can reduce the level of the
HIV virus in the body to undetectable levels and life expectancy can be restored to normal.
Recent research also suggests that if someone with HIV has an undetectable viral load – the goal for HAART treatment – then it massively reduces (perhaps even stops) the risk of passing on HIV. The studies confirming this hypothesis are ongoing.
What is more, there is new hope that if ARV treatment can be started early and widely enough, then the spread of HIV can be dramatically reduced.