WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — It was 40 years ago this month that the first five cases of AIDS were diagnosed. 

That was only the beginning, as the world has lost a total of 36-million people, including 700,000 Americans who have died due to HIV. 

Initially there was a lot of darkness with little hope. In 1985, if you were 25 and diagnosed with HIV, you had a two-year life expectancy. But Dr. Clark Milton says today, you can live a full, normal life.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

Treatment has moved to one pill a day. A drug that makes the human immunodeficiency virus undetectable. 

Recently in recent years we have pre-exposure prophylaxis, which limits the exposure to the community. But more importantly our medicines now can decrease the levels of the virus to be undetectable. And when we have an undetectable virus, it’s un-transmittable which has been a research triumph.

Dr. Clark Milton, Medical Director of Corporate Health, Wheeling Hospital

Milton says the vaccine, still elusive for treating HIV, is on the horizon.