Timeline: Key Moments In The Fight Against HIV/AIDS In the 1980s, HIV/AIDS swept across the globe. It soon reached pandemic proportions. In the three decades since, advances in drug therapies have transformed the disease from a death sentence to a chronic illness. In recent years, public health officials have embraced the idea of "test and treat" – that everyone who has HIV should know it and get into treatment right away. With new drug regimens that can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels, researchers now believe they can halt the spread of HIV and end the pandemic.