Exactly thirty years ago today, on June 5 1981, the Center for Disease Controls published its first reports of a mysterious illness that affected 5 gay men. The illness was later identified as HIV/AIDS. Read the original 1981 report HERE.Today we pause to remember the more than 30 million fatalities claimed by the global pandemic, as well as the 34 million who currently live with HIV.
View an interactive timeline of the epidemic.
President Obama says it is a priority to "re-focus national attention on [the] domestic epidemic." White House statement HERE.
HIV/AIDS was originally considered a problem for white gay men but Blacks have been hard-hit by the disease since the earliest days of the epidemic. By 1993, Blacks accounted for a nearly a quarter of AIDS cases by 1983. Today, African Americans are barely 13 percent of the population, yet make up half of all those living and dying with HIV/AIDS in the USA.
The Black AIDS Institute has released "30 Years Is Enuf: the History of the AIDS Epidemic in Black America." The authoritative report chronicles the history of AIDS in Black America and includes a special section on youth HIV/AIDS leaders. Download HERE.
Black gay/bisexual men are hardest by HIV/AIDS. The University of Wisconsin estimates Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are only 1 percent of the population but accounts for 25 percent of all new HIV cases in the U.S..
CDC reports almost one in three Black MSM are HIV positive, compared with only 16 percent of White gay and bisexual men. More than 60 percent are not aware of their HIV status. Black MSM HIV rates are even higher in some cities.
The staggering financial cost of AIDS in the Black community.
An interactive map produced by the School of Public Health at Emory University shows the HIV/AIDS caseload across the U.S. The South and Southeast have seen the nation’s highest growth in HIV/AIDS. This region is the nation’s poorest, has the highest percentage of Black residents and has seen an "alarming" growth in seroconversions among Black MSM.
Why have we still not found a cure?
Philadelphia's ACT UP chapter is still going strong.
The Smithsonian opens a special exhibition on HIV.
The UN calls for more funding for early AIDS treatment. "The General Assembly [will] meet to discuss the epidemic next week, with 20 world leaders and more than 100 ministers expected to attend."
A profile of San Francisco General Hospital's famous Ward 86, "the world's first inpatient AIDS ward, where young, gay men went to die. It is now a drop-in clinic where men and women as old as 82 get help leading increasingly long lives.
CDC: More than 1.1 million Americans now live with HIV/AIDS. One in five do NOT know that they are infected.