It all started on June 5, 1981 when the first cases of AIDS were published in a medical journal. The syndrome did not have a name yet. The term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was introduced by the Center for Disease Control in 1982. The virus that causes the syndrome was discovered in 1983 and was named Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The POZ Timeline–Milestone in the HIV/AIDS Pandemic documents these and other milestones over the past 30 years including the end of the HIV travel ban and the first person cured of the disease (both in 2010).
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is featuring a lecture series titled – “HIV/AIDS: 30 Years of Leadership and Lessons”.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will mark the 30th anniversary of the emergence of what became known as the HIV and AIDS epidemic with a three-part display and website beginning June 3.
“HIV and AIDS Thirty Years Ago” will look at the public health, scientific and political responses in the early phase (1981-87) of the global pandemic. This showcase will be located in the museum’s “Science in American Life” exhibition, which focuses on the connections among science, culture and society in American history. The display will feature photographs, magazine covers and other graphics plus equipment that Dr. Jay Levy used to isolate the virus in his lab at the University of California, San Francisco, a copy of the Surgeon General’s 1986 report presenting the government’s position, samples of the drugs AZT and Retrovir and public health information pamphlets from AIDS service organizations. The website will be available at americanhistory.si.edu/hivaids.