The 30-year battle against AIDS is an unbelievable chapter in the history of medicine and 30 years later more than 60-million people around the world have been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. And of those, 25-million people have died as there is no cure.
On June 5, 1981, a bombshell quietly exploded in America. On that day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report on a rare and deadly illness affecting five young, gay men in Los Angeles. It would be more than a year before the condition got its official name, but that was the day that Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, was officially recognized in the U.S.
Thirty years later, it can be hard to remember the fear and the desperation of those early days. It took more than three years to identify the virus that caused AIDS and to develop a test to detect HIV, the virus that causes it. There were no treatments, and most people died very quickly. The average survival time after diagnosis was less than a year. People lost their jobs, their families and friends, and their homes when they got sick. Out of fear and ignorance, some schools refused to admit HIV-positive students and some doctors wouldn’t treat HIV-positive patients. Churches and funeral homes refused to bury those who died.