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1957
Dr. Hilary Koprowski of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia developed an oral polio vaccine and tested it in Africa (Congo). The Wister polio vaccine was given to some 300,000 people in the Belgian Congo from 1957-1960. A later theory held that reuse of needles during the immunization program caused AIDS via “serial passage” that transformed the SIV virus into HIV. In 1999 Edward Hooper authored “The River,” a detailed hypothesis for the origin of AIDS in Africa. Hooper suspected that the Wister polio vaccine, produced from monkey kidney cells, contained SIV virus. In 2000 a computerized study indicated that the AIDS virus was introduced to humans about 1930.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Pennsylvania, Medical, AIDS, CongoDRC, Polio, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1959
Researchers in 1998 found the HIV virus of AIDS in a blood specimen from a Bantu man who died in Leopoldville, Belgian Congo, later Kinshasa, Congo. This became the oldest known case and researchers believed that incidents could go back to the 1940s.
Links: Microbiology, AIDS, CongoDRC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
Charles W. "Scott" Hope (d. 1997 at 74) co-founded the SF Network Ministries to serve San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The non-denominational Christian church constructed affordable housing, operates a training center for residents and the homeless, provides pastoral care to people who are HIV positive and other works. He wrote for the Network Journal, a monthly publication of the Ministries.
Links: USA, SF, AIDS, Homeless     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974
In San Francisco the Shanti project was founded to treat residents suffering from terminal illnesses. In 1981 the program was expanded to include AIDS.
Links: USA, SF, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Dec 12
Dr. Grethe Rask (b.1930) from Denmark died of Pneumocystis carinii. She had done research in Africa. Her symptoms had been manifesting in Dec 1976 and she was hospitalized in Africa. In November 1977 after a brief recovery, she decided it was time to go home to die. A colleague saw the wasting, and did an autopsy, where P. carinii was found. She is believed to be one of the first documented cases of probable AIDS infection.
Links: Microbiology, Medical, Denmark, AIDS, CongoDRC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1979
AIDS was diagnosed for the first time. When the first cases of AIDS erupted in 1979 the most important sign was the occurrence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), the so-called "gay cancer" appearing on the bodies of some homosexuals dying of the disease.
Links: USA, Gays, Medical, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980
1994
Life expectancy in Uganda dropped from 52 to 40 due to AIDS.
Links: Uganda, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980
Dr. Robert Gallo and colleagues discovered the retrovirus HTLV-1. In 1982 they discovered the retrovirus HTLV-2 and suggested that AIDS was caused by a new human retrovirus.
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1981 Jun 5
The US Federal Centers for Disease Control published the first report of a mysterious outbreak of a sometimes fatal pneumonia among gay men. Dr. Michael Gottlieb of UCLA and Dr. Joel Weisman (1943-2009) reported 5 cases of a rare pneumonia among gay men in LA. The disease was initially called gay related immune deficiency (GRID). The syndrome was named Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1982. Within 10 years the disease killed 110,000 Americans. People infected with HIV came to be defined as having AIDS when their immune system became so weak that they got one of 26 specific illnesses including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pneumonia, brain infections and some other cancers.
Links: USA, California, Gays, Medical, AIDS, Brain     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Aug 28
The US national Centers for Disease Control, noting a high incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma and pneumocystis in homosexual men, announced a medical task force had been formed to find out why. It was later determined the increased number of illnesses was caused by AIDS.
Links: USA, Gays, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1981
Larry Kramer helped found the Gay Men’s Health Crises in NYC. He later split with the group and founded ACT UP (1987) to press for a more forceful response to AIDS. His work included the novel "Faggots" (1978) and the play The Normal Heart."
Links: USA, NYC, Gays, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 May
Dr. Robert Gallo and Max Essex first proposed that AIDS was probably caused by a new human retrovirus and suggested that it was in the HTLV family. Isolates from AIDS patients in 1983 were first named HTLV-3 and later HIV.
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1982 Oct 15
The federal Centers for Disease Control warned that a new epidemic was impacting Americans and that over 200, mostly gay young men, had died from AIDS. In 2001 Jon Cohen authored "Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine."
Links: USA, Microbiology, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983
Dr. Constance Wofsy (1943-1996) and Dr. Paul Volberding founded the AIDS program at San Francisco General Hospital.
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1983
The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study was begun by Dr. Mellors in Pittsburgh. It became the largest ongoing study with med. info and blood samples over the lifetime of AIDS patients. Dr. Mellors pioneered the viral load test that showed how increased viral load hastened the HIV disease.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1983
Dr. Jay Levy at UCSF was among the first to identify the AIDS virus as the cause of HIV. He developed an early test for detecting the presence of the virus and he found that heat inactivates HIV in clotting preparations.
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1983
The Green Cross Corp., a major Japanese pharmaceutical firm, was later accused of having sold unheated blood products at this time even after learning that they could infect people with the AIDS virus. In 1996 prosecutors raided their offices. Drug company executives, Renzo Matsushita (79), Takehiko Kawano (69) and Tadakazu Suyama (72) pleaded guilty in 1997 and began prison terms in 2000.
Links: Japan, AIDS, Pharma     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983
In France Dr. Luc Montagnier and his team, which included Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, published a paper fingering HIV as the cause of AIDS.
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1984 Apr 22
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said French researchers had discovered that a virus causes AIDS. Scientists identified a retrovirus named human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the cause of AIDS.
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1984 Apr 23
US Health Secretary Margaret Heckler said the AIDS-virus was identified as the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. [see Apr 21]
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1984
Kathelyn Steimer (1948-1996) assisted in the first sequencing and cloning of HIV with colleagues Dino Dina and Paul Luciv at Chiron Corp.
Links: USA, Microbiology, AIDS, BioTech     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984
AIDS was reported to have been transmitted to a health care worker by an accidental needle stick.
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1984
Scientists discovered the alpha-defensin proteins, used by a class of white blood cells that kill and eat bacteria. In 2002 they were believed to play a key role in suppressing AIDS.
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1985 Feb 27
In San Francisco the Irwin Memorial Blood Bank said that 80 Bay Area residents have received blood since 1979 from donors who are know to have contracted AIDS.
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1985 Mar 2
The US government approved a screening test for AIDS that detected antibodies to the virus, allowing possibly contaminated blood to be excluded from the blood supply.
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1985 May 9
Laurent Fabius, head of the French Socialist government, blocked the sale of an AIDS virus detection test made by Abbott Laboratories. Fabius and others were later charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter in the deaths of hundreds who died from transfusions of tainted blood. In 1999 Fabius and Georgina Dufoix were cleared of the charges. Edmond Herve, the health minister under Dufoix, was convicted of negligence in 2 cases.
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1985 Jul 15
A gaunt-looking Rock Hudson appeared at a news conference with actress Doris Day to promote her cable television program. It was later revealed Hudson was suffering from AIDS.
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1985 Jul 25
A spokeswoman for Rock Hudson confirmed that the actor, hospitalized in Paris, was suffering from “AIDS.” Hudson died the following October.
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1985 Aug 1
The French government began to require the testing of all donated blood for AIDS following the launch of a test by Diagnostic Pasteur. By this time some 1,300 hemophiliacs were contaminated with AIDS-tainted blood. By 1997 over 500 had died, most of them children. Four health officials were charged and convicted in the case.
Links: France, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Aug 26
Thirteen-year-old AIDS patient Ryan White began "attending" classes at Western Middle School in Kokomo, Indiana, via a telephone hook-up at his home. School officials had barred Ryan from attending classes in person.
Links: USA, AIDS, Indiana, Education, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1985 Sep 11
VP George Bush visited San Francisco and gave the most extensive administration comments on the AIDS epidemic to date. He sympathized with parents afraid to send their children to school with victims of the disease.
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1985 Oct 2
Rock Hudson (b.1925), film star, died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. after a battle with AIDS. Upon his death it was publicly made known that he had been a closet homosexual. Marc Christian McGinnis (1953-2009), Hudson’s lover, soon sued Hudson’s estate alleging emotional distress. In 1989 a jury awarded him $21.75 million in damages, but this was later reduced to $5.5 million and settled in 1991. McGinnis never contracted AIDS, but died of pulmonary problems.
Links: USA, Gays, Filmstar, AIDS, Lawsuit     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Dec 13
France sued the U.S. over the discovery of an AIDS serum.
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1985
AIDS made the cover of Time Mag.
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1985
Ruth Brinker (1922-2011) founded Project Open Hand, a SF program to provide meals for people with AIDS. By 1988 the project was serving 500 meals a day. In 2005 she was honored with a Jefferson Award for community service.
Links: USA, SF, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1985
In SF Cleve Jones and Mike Smith formed the Names Project to remember those who died of AIDS. The project went on to develop the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
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1985
SF General opened the nation’s first full AIDS ward.
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1986 Feb 21
Ryan White (1971-1990), AIDS patient, returned to classes at Western Middle School in Indiana.
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1986 Aug 2
US attorney Roy M. Cohn died at Bethesda Naval Hospital of cardiac arrest and complications from AIDS.
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1986 Nov 20
UN's WHO announced 1st global effort to combat AIDS.
Links: UN, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1986
Scientists isolated the protease enzyme and realized that it could be used to combat HIV due to its crucial role in virus reproduction. Its 3-d structure was announced by Merck in 1989.
Links: Medical, AIDS, BioTech     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
Dr. Jay Levy at UCSF discovered that the CD-8 lymphocytes secrete an antiviral factor that prevents HIV from replicating.
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1987 Feb 4
Pianist Liberace (67) died of AIDS at his home in Palm Springs, Calif.
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1987 Mar 20
The Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients. Jerome Horwitz of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine first synthesized AZT in 1964 under a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. It was developed by Burroughs-Welcome (later part of GlaxoSmithKline).
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1987 Mar 24
ACT-UP had its first demonstration at the New York Stock Exchange over the high prices of AZT and the long FDA process for approving drugs. Earlier this month writer Larry Kramer had urged the formation of a "political action" group to fight AIDS in New York. Kramer helped found the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, ACT UP.
Links: USA, AIDS, NYSE, FDA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1987 Apr 1
In his first major speech on the AIDS epidemic, President Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, "We've declared AIDS public health enemy number one."
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1987 Apr 30
William Bennett, US Education Secretary, called for mandatory AIDS testing for several groups of people, including hospital patients and prison inmates.
Links: USA, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 May 31
Addressing AIDS research supporters in Washington, D.C., President Reagan called "for urgency, not panic," but drew scattered boos when he announced he would seek expanded testing for the disease.
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1987 Jun 1
Vice President George Bush addressed the Third International Conference on AIDS in Washington, and, like President Reagan before him, drew scattered boos by calling for more widespread testing for possible carriers of the AIDS virus.
Links: USA, AIDS, BushHW     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Aug 28
A fire damaged the Arcadia, Fla., home of Ricky, Robert and Randy Ray, three hemophiliac brothers infected with the AIDS virus whose court-ordered school attendance sparked a local uproar. The Ray family soon moved to Sarasota, Fla.
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1987 Sep 9
Appearing before President Reagan's special commission on AIDS, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop denounced doctors and other health workers who refused to treat AIDS patients, calling them a "fearful and irrational minority."
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1987 Oct 7
President Reagan's advisory commission on AIDS was left seemingly in disarray as its chairman, Dr. W. Eugene Mayberry, and its vice chairman, Dr. Woodrow A. Myers Jr., resigned.
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1987 Oct 11
Some 200,000 homosexual rights activists marched through Washington DC to demand protection from discrimination and more federal money for AIDS research and treatment. The AIDS Memorial Quilt had its inaugural presentation. In 2000 Cleve Jones and Jeff Dawson authored "Stitching a Revolution, The making of an AIDS Activist."
Links: USA, Gays, AIDS, DC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Nov 12
The American Medical Association issued a policy statement saying it was unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person had AIDS or was HIV-positive.
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1987 Nov 26
Peter Hujar (b.1934), photographer, died in NYC from complications of AIDS. He had captured images of New York’s gay underground.
Links: USA, NYC, AIDS, Photography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1987
Randy Shilts authored "The Band Played On," in which he chronicled the early days of AIDS.
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1987
Russia recorded its first case of AIDS. By 1997 the number rose to 7,000. By 2008 the number reached 430,000.
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1988 Mar 13
John Curtis Holmes, former porn star, died of an AIDS-related illness. In 2003 the film "Wonderland" starred Val Kilmer as Holmes.
Links: USA, Sex, AIDS, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Aug 24
Leonard Frey (b.1938), American actor, died of AIDS. His film roles included “Boys in the Band” (1970) and “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971).
Links: Filmstar, Theater, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Nov 30
San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, on the eve of World AIDS Day, asked city residents to light candles in their windows to recognize those who were sick or had already succumbed to the disease.
Links: USA, SF, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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