HIV/AIDS History

  • 1926-46 - HIV possibly spreads from monkeys to humans. No one knows for sure.
  • 1959 - A man dies in Congo in what many researchers say is the first proven AIDS death.
  • 1981 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notices high rate of otherwise rare cancer
  • 1982 - The term AIDS is used for the first time, and CDC defines it.
  • 1983/84 - American and French scientists each claim discovery of the virus that will later be called HIV.
  • 1985 - The FDA approves the first HIV antibody test for blood supplies.
  • 1987 - AZT is the first anti-HIV drug approved by the FDA.
  • 1991 - Basketball star Magic Johnson announces that he is HIV-positive.
  • 1996 - FDA approves first protease inhibitors.
  • 1999 - An estimated 650,000 to 900,000 Americans living with HIV/AIDS.
  • 2002 - AIDS global death toll reaches nearly 28.1 million.

World Impact

To understand the devastation of AIDS, you have to understand the high mortality rate of people who develop the disease. If you counted every person in the city of Chicago, which is about 3 million, you would get an idea of how many people died worldwide from AIDS each year for the past few years. Basically, that means that each year AIDS kills the same number of people that populate the third largest city in the United States.

Between 36.7 and 45.3 million people are infected with the HIV virus worldwide as of November 2005, with as many as 25.8 million of those cases in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, another 4.9 million new HIV infections occurred in 2005, which represents almost 14,000 new cases per day. The regions with the greatest number of people living HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization, include:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa - 25.8 million
  • South and Southeast Asia - 7.4 million
  • Latin America - 1.8 million
  • North America - 1.2 million
  • Eastern Europe/Central Asia - 1.6 million [Avert]

AIDS is clearly one of the worst health crises facing the world today. Without any truly effective treatment, most health experts are putting an emphasis on prevention to stop the spread of HIV. To learn more about HIV and AIDS, check out the links in the next section.