Deployed U.S. forces have historically been exposed to diseases that are not prevalent in the U.S. such as malaria, leishmaniasis and dengue.
To combat these disease threats, the U.S. military has excelled at infectious disease research and spurred some of medicine’s greatest advances in disease prevention, diagnostics, and treatment.
When the HIV epidemic first emerged in the 1980s, the U.S. government immediately recognized the threat the disease could pose to service members.
In response, Congress established the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. In this age of global deployments, HIV not only continues to pose a threat to service members, but it can also compromise the stability of a nation where the disease is prevalent and endanger worldwide security.
Early in the epidemic, the U.S. military emerged as a leader when MHRP developed the first HIV disease staging system, which was adopted by the Army in 1986.