Editor's Note: This is the second of two articles that looks at the progression of AIDS research over the 20 years since its identification. The first part: M.E. Watanabe, "AIDS, 20 years later," The Scientist, 15[12]:1, June 11, 2001.
Despite billions of dollars spent in research funds and a brief reprieve in Western nations after the introduction of multidrug therapy, AIDS continues to win its battle against humankind. First diagnosed 20 years ago, there are still no cures and no vaccines. Prevention remains elusive and worldwide infection numbers are skyrocketing. A vaccine is still a decade or more away.

When first diagnosed in the United States, the disease mainly struck gay men, intravenous drug abusers, and those who had received tainted blood or blood products. Today, its targets have changed. AIDS thrives in poverty and among those who are disenfranchised. Increasingly, it is becoming a disease affecting women and...

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