Since the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s, millions of people have been diagnosed with AIDS. Many people who are infected with HIV never get AIDS today.
Back in 2008, an estimated 47,500 people were infected with the HIV virus in the United States alone. It’s estimated that over 1.2 million Americans 13 years and older are currently living with an HIV infection.
Gay and bisexual men make up the largest American population affected by HIV & AIDS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control back in 2015, 68% of new HIV infections took place among gay or bisexual men. Twenty three percent were among heterosexuals, and 9% were drug users (CDC).
Since its peak in 1996, cases involving HIV infections have been reduced by 47%.
At the end of 2016, there were an estimated 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. Of that number, about 2.1 million were children less than 15 years old.
Most of these children under 15 years of age are living with either HIV or AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and didn’t do anything themselves to get the disease. The majority of them were infected by HIV-positive mothers during breastfeeding, childbirth or pregnancy.
During June of 2017, 20.9 million HIV sufferers were undergoing Antiretroviral Therapy, a drastic increase from the less than one million in the year 2000.
In 2016, 1 million people died from AIDS related health problems, the total number of those who have died from AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic being 35 million.
In 2017, an average of 75% of all people infected with HIV knew their status.
1981: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a report on a rare type of lung infection among 5 previously healthy homosexual men living in Los Angeles. This marks the very first report of what will soon become known worldwide as the AIDS epidemic, affecting millions, although scientists have no idea at this stage.
1985: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licenses the very first commercial blood test (ELISA) to detect HIV antibodies in the bloodstream.
1990: Ryan White, diagnosed with HIV at the age of 13, dies at only 18 years old. When Ryan was diagnosed after receiving an infected blood transfusion, he was only given six months to live.
Ryan faced intensive discrimination when trying to return to school. Along with his mother, Ryan rallied for his right to continue schooling, his cause gaining national attention and Ryan became the face of HIV education. The United States Congress passed the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act in August, only months after his death.
1995: The National Association of People With AIDS launches the very first ‘National HIV Testing Day’ on June 27. By October 31st, over 31 million AIDS cases have been reported in the US alone.
2000: President Clinton declares HIV a threat to US national security on April 30th.
2005: The US government, along with several other large organizations, estimates 700,000 sufferers in developing countries have been given access to Antiretroviral therapy thanks to their efforts.
2010: The Obama administration released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the US.
2016: UN members form a pledge to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Health
World Health Organization
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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