35th Anniversary of AIDS: Federal Leaders Reflect (Video)
June 2, 2016
In advance of the 35th anniversary this Sunday, June 5, of the first reported cases of what would become known as AIDS in the United States, AIDS.gov sat down with federal leaders in our response to HIV/AIDS to hear their reflections on this milestone.
Despite Advances, HIV Stigma Still Impedes Progress
In her reflection, Dr. Amy Lansky, Acting Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), observed that the advances of the past three-and-a-half decades of fighting HIV are integrated into the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which is our national roadmap to addressing HIV.
Collaborations to Deploy Scientific Advances Key to Progress
Dr. Richard Wolitski, Acting Director of the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP), reflected on the toll that HIV/AIDS has taken in the United States and around the world, as well as on important progress that has been made in the response to HIV/AIDS over the past 35 years.
"If we all do our part, we can stop marking these milestones, we can stop counting the infections, we can stop adding up the deaths. And we can look back on HIV as something that's a part of our past and part of our history -- but not a part of our future," he concluded.
NIH's Dr. Fauci Reflects on 35 Years of Responding to AIDS
In another video released today by NIH, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH's National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shared his reflections on learning of those first case reports and his experience in seeing patients at that time.
On June 5, 1981 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), describing cases of a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), in five young, previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles. All the men have other unusual infections as well, indicating that their immune systems are not working; two have already died by the time the report is published. This edition of the MMWR marks the first official reporting of what will become known as the AIDS epidemic.
On June 5, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times reported on the MMWR. On June 6, the San Francisco Chronicle covered the story. Within days, doctors from across the U.S. flooded CDC with reports of similar cases.
Read more about milestones in the 35-year history of HIV/AIDS in the AIDS.gov Timeline of HIV/AIDS.
Miguel Gomez is director of AIDS.gov and senior communications advisor at the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This article was provided by HIV.gov.
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