A brief report on five gay men in Los Angeles with a rare and deadly form of pneumonia, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on June 5, 1981, was the first public acknowledgment of the condition that came to be known as AIDS. It sparked an ominous flash of recognition in a number of physicians and researchers in New York City who were also seeing young, previously healthy patients, nearly all gay men, with infections usually associated with weakened immune systems. And many of them were dying.
A robust research effort brought the approval of AZT, the first anti-HIV drug, in 1987, but its side effects were debilitating and the drug was only partly effective in combating the virus. Then in 1995 the first protease inhibitors appeared, paving the way for triple combination therapy-the drug cocktails that revolutionized the treatment of HIV.
The intense stigma attached to HIV, often fueled by homophobia, caused people to be shunned by friends, co-workers, and even family members, and led many to keep their status hidden. Early advocacy efforts were aimed at ensuring that people living with the virus enjoyed the same rights as their fellow citizens, including the right to treatment and care.
amfAR is an international organization that focuses on HIV/AIDS research, education, and public policy. Since 1985 amfAR has issued grants to more than 2,000 research teams and has invested $250 million from donations.
One of the oldest HIV/AIDS activist organizations, ACT UP remains committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis.
AIDS WALK provides a national database of AIDS walks.
The Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative's mission is to work with governments to increase the availability of high-quality AIDS care and treatment. The Initiative works with drug manufacturing and labs to lower the price of HIV/AIDS medicines, provides on-the-ground support for individual governments, and has launched programs specifically for children and rural populations.
A comprehensive Web resource for HIV/AIDS that provides news, research, discussion boards, and general information for anyone affected by HIV/AIDS.
UNAIDS organizes and collects the resources of 10 UN system organizations to help the world prevent new HIV infections, care for people living with HIV, amd mitigate the impact of the epidemic.