AIDS United Observes 30th Anniversary of AIDS

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – June 3, 2011 – On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published the first mention of what later is determined to be HIV.   While Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was the clinical term used to describe the sudden cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma or pneumonia infection in previously healthy people, AIDS became the loaded term that struck fear into the hearts of humanity.  

We have come a long way since that June day 30 years ago.  We honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, and those who have dedicated their lives to fighting AIDS.  We are grateful for treatment advances have helped make HIV/AIDS a chronic condition instead of a deadly disease, but we continue to fight the stigma that still drives the epidemic.  We have the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy but continue to face Draconian budget cuts for federal programs benefiting people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.  Nearly 60,000 Americans still become infected each year.  Thousands of Americans are not getting the life-saving treatment they need because they can’t afford it, can’t get to it, or haven’t faced the fact that they need it. 

Clearly we have more work to do.  And observing the 30th anniversary of AIDS inspires us to work even harder to ensure that there are as few of these anniversaries left as possible.  And everyone has a role to play.

We must educate ourselves about HIV/AIDS, and get tested so we know our status.  We must practice safer sex.  We must advocate for sound HIV/AIDS policy, for increased federal and state resources, and for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  We must fight for effective vaccines, microbicides, and other promising prevention tools.   We must increase investments in both innovation and evidence-based programs that support community-driven responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

HIV/AIDS is a preventable disease, and a winnable battle!  We must work together to create a new anniversary that will be cause for real celebration: the end of AIDS in America.