In the U.S., AIDS may not seem to be the urgent problem it once was. Powerful drugs introduced since 1996 have slashed the annual death rate in the U.S. from nearly 50,000 in 1995 to 16,000 in 2004. But the picture is still grim. New cases of infection continue unabated, at about 44,000 per year, with more Americans than ever—more than 1 million—infected with HIV. Around the world the epidemic is growing, with more than 40 million people carrying the virus. What's more, HIV increasingly outwits today's drugs even as side effects take a toll.