Thirty years ago last June, a brief report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report described cases of a rare form of pneumonia called Pneumocystis carinii in five young Los Angeles men, “all active homosexuals.” The cases were noteworthy because the men had previously been healthy, though their particular pneumonia had only been seen in people with severely depressed immune systems.
Within a month, a second report had identified 54 young gay men with a rare cancer known as Kaposi’s sarcoma, another disease that had been almost unknown in young men. And by the following summer, the mysterious disease underlying these reports had a name: acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
In the 30 years since its first recognition, AIDS has killed nearly 30 million people worldwide, including more than 615,000 in the United States. Today, an additional 34 million people — including nearly 1.2 million in the U.S. — are living with the virus that causes the disease, human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. This year, 1.8 million of them will die, including about 17,000 in this country. (excerpted from Melissa Healy and Thomas H. Maugh II, “After 30 years, the AIDS war still rages,” L.A. Times, June 5, 2011)
Every day in Kentucky, a new person becomes infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.
A Timeline of AIDS- AIDS.gov
Interactive Map of HIV/AIDS in the US- AIDSVu.org
30 Years of AIDS with Anderson Cooper, Elton John, Mo’nique, and more- Greater Than AIDS
Tell us your memories and experiences from the last three decades of AIDS: