30 years of AIDS30 years of AIDS. Thirty years ago, on June 5, 1981, U.S. health agencies began tracking unusual clusters of diseases that would later be identified as the first cases diagnosed as AIDS. Since then, more than 750,000 Americans have died from the epidemic, and more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. We look at the milestones in the fight against AIDS as well as statistics for the most populous countries.
In a discovery that changed the perception of how the virus is spread, an infant is diagnosed as the first AIDS case from a blood transfusion.
AIDS is proposed by health officials to replace GRID, as HIV is found not just in homosexuals. Watch a video about the history of the definition of AIDS.
Doctor isolates retrovirus
Dr. Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, a virologistat the Pasteur Institute, isolates a retrovirus that kills T cells in the lymph system of AIDS patients. She went on to win a prestigious award for her work in discovering HIV.
This retrovirus would be called by several names before being named HIV in 1986.
Gaëtan Dugas, also known as Patient Zero, dies. Although not the first patient with AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links him with 40 of the first 248 AIDS cases in the U.S.
Ryan White, a teen from Kokomo, Ind. is diagnosed with HIV contracted from a blood product as part of his treatment for hemophilia. When his Indiana school learns of his disease, he is prevented from attending class.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department announces that a vaccine will be available in two years.
First celebrity discloses AIDS infection
At age 59, Hollywood leading man Rock Hudson becomes the first U.S. celebrity to disclose he is HIV-positive, three months before he dies of AIDS and about a year after he was diagnosed with it. Watch news coverage of his death.
AIDS discrimination case
Geoffrey Bowers is fired from a law firm after AIDS-related lesions appear on his face. He sues the firm in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases. The story partially inspired the film "Philadelphia," starring Tom Hanks.
That same year, President Ronald Reagan's surgeon general, C. Everett Koop releases a report on AIDS without review by Reagan's advisers. Watch him give testimony to Congress about AIDS.
'Oprah' hosts public meeting
Williamson, W.Va., closes its public swimming pool after an incident involving a local resident with HIV. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" broadcasts a meeting during which residents express their fears about AIDS and homosexuality.
Ryan White dies at age 18 from AIDS-related pneumonia. Congress passes the Ryan White Care Act after his death. Watch a tribute video and clips from the TV movie based on his life.
Life magazine publishes a haunting image of David Kirby, a man suffering from AIDS, as he took his last breaths.
NBA star announces he's HIV-positive
Magic Johnson, a 12-time NBA All-Star announces he is carrying the disease. He stops playing for the NBA. He has now lived with the condition for 20 years.
Freddie Mercury the lead singer of the band Queen, dies at age 46, just 24 hours after announcing he has AIDS.
That same year, drug therapies for HIV are introduced, which are shown to be more effective than AZT and slow the development of some AIDS-related fatal diseases.
'Psycho' actor dies of AIDS
Actor Anthony Perkins, known for his role as Norman Bates in the Alfred Hitchcock horror classic "Psycho," dies from AIDS. Watch him in "Psycho."
Popular science fiction writer Isaac Asimov dies from an AIDS-related condition. He was infected during heart surgery in 1983
Tennis star dies
Professional tennis champ Arthur Ashe dies at age 49 after acquiring HIV during heart surgery in 1983. He spent the last year of his life campaigning for AIDS awareness and compassion for victims.
Death rates begin to plummet
A new type of protease inhibitor drug becomes available to treat HIV. Highly active antiretroviral therapy is used in 1996, and within two years, death rates due to AIDS plummet. By 1998, the drug therapy shows impressive results, with death rates dropping to about 5 percent per year for HIV patients, down from more than 20 percent per year.
Billions spent to fight AIDS
President George W. Bush starts the PEPFAR relief plan with $5 billion. More than $25 billion has been spent so far, mostly in Africa to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Bono launches Red campaign
Singer Bono launches Product Red. Profits from the line are designated to help fight the worldwide AIDS epidemic.
That same year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announces he will step down as head of the computer software giant to spend more time on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest private resource for fighting HIV/AIDS.
Rate of infection rises
New HIV incidence estimates show the U.S. rate of infection is higher than previously forecast. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's study estimates about 55,000 new infections occurred in 2006, not the projected 40,000.
A breakthrough in HIV/AIDS prevention is announced. Research scientists at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, or CAPRISA, test a gel that reduces the risk of a woman becoming infected with HIV during intercourse by about 40 percent. Watch video of the study's results.
Just about a year after President Barack Obama's National HIV/AIDS Strategy was released, the 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference will be held this summer.