The US is probably not the best example, given that their ‘health system’ denies many AIDS patients (especially iv drug users) access to perfectly effective medications on cost grounds. Countries with a decent healthcare safety net generally keep AIDS deaths under control much more successfully.
I believe that modern antiretrovirals etc are extremely effective at suppressing the virus, though some research is starting to come out about liver damage etc in long-term users. But I suspect that’s a trade most would be willing to pay, given the appalling inevitable death sentence than untreated HIV is.
I vaguely knew a kid who died of it a few years back. Nice guy, bit scatterbrained and vulnerable, slept with a random bloke at a gay club to get back at a boyfriend for something or other, caught the virus as a result, lived in the US and worked casually so didn’t have health insurance worth a damn. Got too sick too quickly for the meds to save him even if he could afford them, died within months.
It’s a terrifying virus. You read And The Band Played On or similar, and you realise what a holocaust is was in the gay community around that time. Whole social groups just getting wiped out wholesale. The Grim Reaper ad looks like overkill now the meds exist, but back then they were a perfectly reasonable response.