Michael Specter, who wrote a Profile of Kramer in 2002, reported a few weeks ago on one breakthrough: a study showing definitively that antiretrovirals can reduce the transmission of the virus in a dramatic way.
We don’t know how to make a vaccine, though, or how to completely stop people from being reckless, or politicians from being ridiculously destructive in their rhetoric, or poverty and uneven resources from being the enemy of public health. But on those fronts we can keep trying. What we will never know, though—never close to completely—is the way AIDS changed the world. Almost thirty million people have died of AIDS. What would they have done, who might their children have been, whom would they have loved?