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Thursday, 28 July 2011



In 1981 The New England Journal of Medicine reported a new rare and fatal disease that had killed 95 people, mostly homosexual men. The disease later would be called AIDS.

The Associated Press ran its first story on July 3, 1981 about two rare illnesses afflicting homosexual men. One of the diseases was later named AIDS.

On October 8, 1981, public health nurse Bobbi Campbell became the 16th person in San Francisco to be diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, when that was a proxy for an AIDS diagnosis. He was the first to publicly identify as a person living with what was to become known as HIV/AIDS.

Newsweek cover, August 8, 1983, showing Bobbi Campbell (left) and lover Bobby Hilliard

AIDS was originally known as Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID).

AIDS day is December 1st, in recognition of the day the AIDS virus was officially recognized on December 1, 1981.

A team of researchers led by French virologist Luc Montagnier published their discovery of HIV on May 20, 1983, but were not then certain that it caused AIDS.

Scientists estimate HIV came to the U.S. from Haiti in 1970 or 1971, but it went undetected by doctors for years.

When Ryan White was denied re-admittance to his school on June 30, 1985, due to HIV he had contracted during treatments for hemophilia; his legal battle made him a poster child for the disease in the U.S.

On March 20, 1987 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the antiretroviral drug zidovudine (AZT), the first antiviral medication approved for use against HIV and AIDS. The paucity of alternatives for treating HIV/AIDS at that time meant the drug's side-effect of transient anemia and malaise outweighed the slow, disfiguring, and painful death from HIV. AZT was subsequently approved unanimously for infants and children three years later.

AZT in oral, injectable, and suppository form

In the late 1980s, young punk rockers in Cuba, known as “los frikis,” were so fed-up with the stifling life of the communist regime that they chose to inject themselves with the AIDS virus so they could live in a sanitarium and be free from constant police-state harassment.

In April 1987, Princess Diana opened the UK's first purpose built HIV/Aids unit that exclusively cared for patients infected with the virus, at London Middlesex Hospital. In front of the world's media, Princess Diana shook the hand of a man suffering with the illness, without wearing gloves. In doing so she challenged the belief that AIDS could be passed via contact. The act was seen as a huge moment for those suffering with the disease.

Pope John Paul II embraced an AIDS-infected boy while visiting San Francisco on September 17, 1987.The pope drove past several groups of angry protesters in order to embrace the teary-eyed 4-year-old Brendan O'Rourke, who had contracted the disease through a blood transfusion. He then assured all AIDS victims of God's love for them.

In its January 1988 issue, Cosmopolitan ran a feature claiming that women had almost no reason to worry about contracting HIV. The piece claimed that unprotected sex with an HIV-positive man did not put women at risk of infection and went on to state that "most heterosexuals are not at risk".

The actor Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates in Psycho), discovered he was HIV positive in 1990 after reading an article by the National Enquirer claiming he was. It's suspected someone illegally obtained his blood samples and had them tested for the virus, leaking the news to the tabloids. He died on September 12, 1992, from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 60.

Basketball star Magic Johnson announced on November 7, 1991 that he had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, thus ending his career in the NBA. His public announcement of his HIV-positive status helped dispel the stereotype, still widely held at the time, that HIV was a "gay disease" that heterosexuals need not worry about.

Continuum, a magazine devoted to the idea that AIDS is a conspiracy, went out of print in 2001 after both the editors died of AIDS.

The American President George W Bush announced in 2003 a $15 billion package in combating the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Around 40 million people there are currently HIV positive and over three million die annually.

Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh announced in 2007 that he had found a cure for Aids made from boiled herbs.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt, is an enormous quilt made as a memorial to celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDS-related causes. Its first public display was on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 2007. Weighing an estimated 54 tons, it is the largest piece of community folk art in the world.

In 2008, almost 7,300 people were diagnosed with HIV in the UK — three times the number diagnosed ten years earlier — and more than half of those people contracted the virus through heterosexual sex. Women accounted for 2,684 of that number.

It was revealed in 2014 that the global pandemic had its origins in the emergence of one specific strain - HIV-1 subgroup M - in LĂ©opoldville in the Belgian Congo (now Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in the 1920s.

Prince Harry took a HIV test live on July 14, 2016 to show how easy it is. It was hailed as a "groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV." HIV awareness group THT subsequently reported a 5 fold increase in the number of orders of HIV self-tests following the prince's broadcast.


The HIV virus is coated in sugar to trick the body into not recognizing it as a foreign entity.

Early diagnosis is crucial if treatment is going to be at its most effective. Despite this, 36 per cent of women who test positive in the UK are at an advanced stage by the time they are diagnosed.

AIDS Clinic, McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India, 2010

Women are twice as likely to acquire HIV from men during sexual intercourse than vice versa.

Ninety five per cent of British women are not routinely tested for HIV and Aids, with 60 per cent thinking that these issues do not affect women in their community.

In America, someone is diagnosed with AIDS every 10 minutes. In South Africa, someone dies due to HIV or AIDS every ten minutes.

Washington, D.C., has the US's highest rate of AIDS infection, at 3%. This rate is comparable to what is seen in west Africa, and is considered a severe epidemic

If a pregnant woman has HIV, with today’s medicine, the risk of the baby being born with HIV is less then 1%.

Swaziland has the highest AIDS/HIV rate with Botswana in second place.

An estimated 10% of Europeans are immune to HIV infection because they have an ancestor who survived the Black Death.

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