2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Three scientists split the 2008 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery of HIV and HPV. French researchers Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barre-Sinoussi first identified human immunodeficiency virus in 1983 and German scientist Harald zur Hausen discovered the human papilloma virus which leads to cervical cancer. From the New York Times:
Of the more than 100 human papilloma viruses now known, about 40 infect the genital tract, and 15 of them put women at high risk for cervical cancer. Papilloma viruses account for more than 5 percent of all cancers worldwide.

The Karolinska Institute said that discovery of H.I.V. by the French scientists, Dr. Barre-Sinoussi and Dr. Montagnier, led to blood tests to detect the infection and to anti-retroviral drugs that are effective in prolonging the lives of patients. The tests are now used to screen blood donations, making the blood supply safer for transfusions. The viral discovery has also led to an understanding of the natural history of H.I.V. infection in people, which ultimately leads to AIDS unless treated.
Three Europeans Win the 2008 Nobel for Medicine