Years Of Aids: A Timeline Of The Epidemic
Over the past four decades, UCSF has led the way in its heroic and committed response to the AIDS epidemic, both locally and globally. This timeline covers some of the highlights over the past 40 years at UCSF, in the nation and around the world after a mysterious outbreak affecting gay men was first reported on June 5, 1981.
Key Points: Hiv Incidence
- HIV incidence declined 8% from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, the estimated number of HIV infections in the U.S. was 34,800 and the rate was 12.6 .
- , the annual number of HIV infections in 2019, compared with 2015, decreased among persons aged 1324 and persons aged 45-54, but remained stable among all other age groups. In 2019, the rate was highest for persons aged 25-34 , followed by the rate for persons aged 35-44 .
- , the annual number of HIV infections in 2019, compared with 2015, decreased among persons of multiple races, but remained stable for persons of all other races/ethnicities. In 2019, the highest rate was for Blacks/African American persons , followed by Hispanic/Latino persons and persons of multiple races .
- , the annual number of new HIV infections in 2019, as compared to 2015, decreased among males, but remained stable among females. In 2019, the rate for males was 5 times the rate for females .
- , the annual number of HIV infections in 2019, compared with 2015, decreased among males with transmission attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, but remained stable among all other transmission categories. In 2019, the largest percentages of HIV infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact
For more details on recent HIV incidence statistics, see Estimated HIV Incidence and Prevalence in the United States, 2015-2019.
Hiv/aids In The 1990s And 2000s
In 1991, the red ribbon became an international symbol of AIDS awareness.
In that year, basketball player Magic Johnson announced he had HIV, helping to further bring awareness to the issue and dispel the stereotype of it being a gay disease. Soon after, Freddie Mercurylead singer of the band Queenannounced he had AIDS and died a day later.
In 1994, the FDA approved the first oral HIV test. Two years later, it approved the first home testing kit and the first urine test.
AIDS-related deaths and hospitalizations in developed countries began to decline sharply in 1995 thanks to new medications and the introduction of HAART. Still, by 1999, AIDS was the fourth biggest cause of death in the world and the leading cause of death in Africa.
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A Short History Of The Aids Crisis In The United States
From cholera to typhoid to COVID-19, the United States has seen its fair share of public health crises and epidemics. One of the worst, most socially polarizing, was the AIDS epidemic that began in the 1980s. While millions died, a war raged on between activist organizations and government institutions, leading to some of the largest and most successful grassroots movements the United States has ever seen. The history of AIDS in America is a history none of us can afford to forget, and as we begin to come out of the era of COVID-19, the events of the 1980s and 1990s can teach us valuable lessons on the importance of unity, hope, and swift action in the face of mortal threat.
Read on to learn the key points of the American AIDS epidemic.
Where Did Aids Come From
Scientists have traced the origin of HIV back to chimpanzees and simian immunodeficiency virus , an HIV-like virus that attacks the immune system of monkeys and apes.
In 1999, researchers identified a strain of chimpanzee SIV called SIVcpz, which was nearly identical to HIV. Chimps, the scientist later discovered, hunt and eat two smaller species of monkeysred-capped mangabeys and greater spot-nosed monkeysthat carry and infect the chimps with two strains of SIV. These two strains likely combined to form SIVcpz, which can spread between chimpanzees and humans.
SIVcpz likely jumped to humans when hunters in Africa ate infected chimps, or the chimps infected blood got into the cuts or wounds of hunters. Researchers believe the first transmission of SIV to HIV in humans that then led to the global pandemic occurred in 1920 in Kinshasa, the capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus spread may have spread from Kinshasa along infrastructure routes via migrants and the sex trade.
In the 1960s, HIV spread from Africa to Haiti and the Caribbean when Haitian professionals in the colonial Democratic Republic of Congo returned home. The virus then moved from the Caribbean to New York City around 1970 and then to San Francisco later in the decade.
International travel from the United States helped the virus spread across the rest of the globe.
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A New Pattern Emerges
On June 5, 1981, CDC published a report in the MMWR describing requests for the drug pentamidine to treat a deadly disease called Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five previously healthy young men in Los Angeles. After the reports publication, health officials also noticed a spike in cases of Kaposis sarcoma external icon among gay men in New York. Health officials were alarmed that outbreaks of both PCP and KS, which were rare, deadly diseases associated with immune suppression, appeared in the same part of the population.
How Does Hiv Spread
HIV is carried in semen , vaginal fluids, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. Most people who get HIV get it through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles syringes. You can get HIV from:
- Having vaginal or anal sex
- Sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
- Getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
- Getting HIV-infected blood, semen , or vaginal fluids into open cuts or sores on your body
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The Geographical Origin Of Subtype B
Under the Haiti-first model, non-Haitian subtype B strains are expected to be phylogenetically nested within an older and hence more extensive range of Haitian genetic variation, with Haitian lineages branching off closest to the B subtype ancestor. To test whether it is this or an alternative pattern that characterizes this HIV-1 subtype , we conducted a detailed Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo phylogenetic analysis using an alignment of the Haitian archival sequences plus 117 previously published subtype B env sequences from a total of 19 countries. Five African strains of subtype D served as the outgroup.
On the env gene phylogeny, the archival sequences occupy basal positions within subtype B there is extremely strong statistical support for a Haitian origin of subtype B, in that the probability of a U.S. or other non-Haitian origin is < 0.001. These results indicate, with high statistical significance, that subtype B arrived and began spreading in Haiti before it spread elsewhere and was not originally introduced to Haiti from the United States. In addition, the unequivocal support for the monophyly of subtype B as a whole supports the previous suggestion of a single introduction of this subtype from central Africa to Haiti .
Pop Culture Opens Up Conversations
In 1985, actor Rock Hudson became the first major public figure to announce he had AIDS. Before he died that same year, he donated $250,000 to help establish the organization later known as amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. Friend and actress Elizabeth Taylor was the national chairperson until her death in 2011.
In 1987, Princess Diana also made international headlines after she shook hands with an HIV-positive man.
Pop culture icon Freddie Mercury, singer for the band Queen, passed away from AIDS-related illness in 1991. Since then, many other public figures have revealed that theyre HIV-positive, including:
- tennis star Arthur Ashe
- former basketball star and entrepreneur Magic Johnson
- Pedro Zamora, a cast member on MTVs The Real World: San Francisco
- actor Charlie Sheen, who announced his status on national television in 2015
- hairstylist and television personality Jonathan Van Ness
- actor and singer Billy Porter
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Where We Are Now: 2000
Since 2000, additional factors have begun contribute to the the global spread of HIV. Heroin addiction in Asia has been on the rise, which brought with it dirty needles and the risk of new infections. India suffered with over 2 million diagnoses alone, in spite of the government’s refusal to admit the epidemic had adversely affected the nation.
The WHO released its comprehensive report examining HIV and AIDS in all of its 25-year history in 2010. This report had good news for developed nations: by 2008, the U.S. domestic HIV infection rate was considered effectively stable, and has remained so to this day. The report also demonstrated that while insistent public awareness campaigns about safe sex and other methods of transmission had slowed the rate of HIV infection in developed countries, there was much to be done elsewhere.
Global Education and Aid Efforts
Under President Bush, the U.S. committed funds to help African countries, but the funds were mismanaged and the spread of HIV continued unabated. Of the 4.1 million cases in sub-Saharan Africa then, only 1% received the available drugs. This led to the WHO’s declaration of the failure to treat the 6 million AIDS patients living in developing nations as a global public health emergency.
HIV Denialism Disrupts Aid
The First World Aids Day
At the beginning of the 1980s, before HIV had been identified as the cause of AIDS, the infection was thought to only affect specific groups, such as gay men in developed countries and people who inject drugs. The HIV virus was first isolated by Dr Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Dr Luc Montagnier in 1983 at the Institut Pasteur. In November that year, WHO held the first meeting to assess the global AIDS situation and initiated international surveillance. It was then that the global health community understood that HIV could also spread between heterosexual people, through blood transfusions, and that infected mothers could transmit HIV to their babies.
United Nations commemorative stamp to raise awareness of HIV and the AIDS epidemic
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Milestone: Discovery Of The Origin Of Hiv
Meanwhile, scientists at Oxford University investigating historical records and genetic evidence concluded that HIV likely originated in or around Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is believed that a hybrid form of the simian immunodeficiency virus jumped from the Pan troglodytes chimpanzee to man as a result of either blood exposure or ingesting bushmeat.
Hiv In The Uk: Voices From The Epidemic Taylor & Francis Group
This book presents a compelling account of the unfolding of the epidemic and the initiatives that made all the difference in the care and prevention of HIV in the UK from the early 1980s to the present time. Drawing on interviews with people with HIV, doctors and nurses involved in their care, leaders of AIDS charities, activists, and politicians, it identifies and describes the models of care developed in response to the onset of the HIV epidemic, and its impact on NHS and voluntary organizations.
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Hiv/aids In The United States
The AIDS epidemic, caused by HIV , found its way to the United States between the 1970s and 1980s, but was first noticed after doctors discovered clusters of Kaposi’s sarcoma and pneumocystis pneumonia in homosexual men in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco in 1981.Treatment of HIV/AIDS is primarily via the use of multiple antiretroviral drugs, and education programs to help people avoid infection.
Initially, infected foreign nationals were turned back at the United States border to help prevent additional infections. The number of United States deaths from AIDS has declined sharply since the early years of the disease’s presentation domestically. In the United States in 2016, 1.1 million people aged over 13 lived with an HIV infection, of whom 14% were unaware of their infection.Gay and bisexual men, African Americans, and Latino Americans remain disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States.
Case Definition For Epidemiological Surveillance
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008, a team led by Robert Shafer at Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that the gray mouse lemur has an endogenouslentivirus in its genetic makeup. This suggests that lentiviruses have existed for at least 14 million years, much longer than the currently known existence of HIV. In addition, the time frame falls in the period when Madagascar was still connected to what is now the African continent the said lemurs later developed immunity to the virus strain and survived an era when the lentivirus was widespread among other mammals. The study was hailed as crucial, as it fills the blanks in the origin of the virus, as well as in its evolution, and could be important in the development of new antiviral drugs.
In 2010, researchers reported that SIV had infected monkeys in Bioko for at least 32,000 years. Previous to this time, it was thought that SIV infection in monkeys had happened over the past few hundred years. Scientists estimated that it would take a similar amount of time before humans adapted naturally to HIV infection in the way monkeys in Africa have adapted to SIV and not suffer any harm from the infection.
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Impact On Gay And Bisexual Men
- While estimates show that gay and bisexual men comprise only about 2% of the U.S. population, male-to-male sexual contact accounts for most new HIV infections and most people living with HIV .58
- Annual new infections among gay and bisexual men declined overall between 2015 and 2019 but remained stable among Black and Latino gay and bisexual men.59
- Blacks gay and bisexual men accounted for the largest number of new diagnoses among this group in 2019, followed by Latino gay and bisexual men .60 Additionally, according to a recent study, Black gay and bisexual men were found to be at a much higher risk of being diagnosed with HIV during their lifetimes compared with Latino and white gay and bisexual men.61 Young Black gay and bisexual men are at particular risk â Black gay and bisexual men ages 20-29 accounted for 51% of new diagnoses among that age group and 13% of all diagnoses.62
Impact On Young People
- Teens and young adults continue to be at risk, with those under 35 accounting for 57% of new HIV diagnoses in 2019 .51 Most young people are infected sexually.52
- Among young people, gay and bisexual men and minorities have been particularly affected.53
- Perinatal HIV transmission, from an HIV-infected mother to her baby, has declined significantly in the U.S., largely due to increased testing efforts among pregnant women and ART which can prevent mother-to-child transmission.54,55,56
- A recent survey of young adults found that HIV remains a concern for young people, especially for young people of color.57
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The Cultural Response To Hiv
Public response was negative in the early years of the epidemic.
In 1983, Dr. Joseph Sonnabend in New York was threatened with eviction for treating people with HIV, leading to the first AIDS discrimination lawsuit.
Bathhouses across the country closed due to sexual activity and the associated risk. Some schools also barred children with HIV from attending.
U.S. blood banks started screening for HIV in 1985, and men who had sex with men were banned from donating blood . first lifted some of its restrictions in December 2015. The FDA loosened its restrictions again in 2020, motivated by the blood shortage caused by COVID-19.)
In 1987, the United States placed a travel ban on visitors and immigrants with HIV.
The United States government resisted funding needle exchange programs due to the War on Drugs. NEPs were shown to be effective at reducing HIV transmission.
In 1997, researchers calculated that this resistance accounted for .
The number of avoidable transmissions may be even higher.
A 2005 study looked at people in New York City who used injectable drugs and had been admitted to a drug detoxification program. The researchers concluded that the legalization of syringe exchange programs helped reduce HIV prevalence among this group from 50 percent in 1990 to 17 percent in 2002.
A Timeline Of Hiv And Aids
The HIV.gov Timeline reflects the history of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic from the first reported cases in 1981 to the presentwhere advances in HIV prevention, care, and treatment offer hope for a long, healthy life to people who are living with, or at risk for, HIV and AIDS.
View a timeline of the current Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. Please visit HIVHistory.org for a timeline of the global and domestic response to the HIV epidemic.
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A History Of Erasing Black Artists And Bodies From The Aids Conversation Hyperallergic Magazine
This article covers the impact of systematic racism in the coverage of HIV/AIDS in museum/gallery environments, despite the fact it impacts black communities at disproportionately high rates. Protesters argued this reality needed to be better reflected in the roster of artists featured in the exhibition and more black staff at all levels of leadership.