Since breaking onto the scene 26 years ago, HIV has proven an indefatigable foe. Over 60 million people have been infected with this retrovirus, and 25 million have already died of AIDS. HIV infection is hitting the hardest in the developing world 1. Tragically, 1600 babies continue to acquire HIV every day from their infected mothers. Over 12 million children have also been orphaned by AIDS, and this number will likely double by 2010. With these sobering statistics as a backdrop, this feature traces the history of the devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic and offers a view for what the future may hold.