By the end of 1984, AIDS had already ravaged the United States for a few years, affecting at least 7,700 people and killing more than 3,500. Scientists had identified the cause of AIDS—HIV—and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified all of its major transmission routes.
Yet, U.S. leaders had remained largely silent and unresponsive to the health emergency. And it wasn’t until September 1985, four years after the crisis began, that President Ronald Reagan first publicly mentioned AIDS.
But by then, AIDS was already a full-blown epidemic.
HIV originated in 1920 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. It spread to Haiti and the Caribbean before jumping to New York City around 1970 and California within the decade.
Health officials first became aware of AIDS in the summer of 1981. Young and otherwise healthy gay men in Los Angeles and New York began getting sick and dying of unusual illnesses normally associated with people with weakened immune systems.
It didn’t take long for fear of the “gay plague” to spread quickly among the gay community. Beyond the mortal danger from the disease, they also dealt with potentially being “outed” as homosexual if they had AIDS or an illness resembling it.
In fall 1982, the CDC described the disease as AIDS for the first time. Despite the growing cases and a new name, news outlets struggled with the disease, or at least how to cover it—some even shied away from giving it too much attention. Though the New York Times initially reported on the mysterious illnesses in July 1981, it would take almost two years before the prestigious paper gave AIDS front-page space on May 25, 1983. By that time, almost 600 people had died from it.
David W. Dunlap, a reporter in the Metro section at the time, told the New York Times Style Magazine: “There were strong messages that you got that were not written on any whiteboard. You knew to avoid it. It was a self-reinforcing edict: Don’t write about queers.”
HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau recently announced five Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) for initiatives on HIV stigma reduction, implementing rapid ART initiation, and improving care and treatment for Black women with HIV. All five NOFOs are supported by the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund. Pre-application webinars begin this week.
HRSA-20-112: Reducing Stigma at Systems, Organizational, and Individual Client Levels in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
This NOFO seeks applications for a training and technical assistance program to reduce stigma for people with HIV on multiple levels throughout the health care delivery system, including on an individual client level. The program will focus on implementing various stigma-reducing approaches, with an emphasis on cultural humility. The pre-application webinar will be held on May 5 from 2:00-3:00 PM (ET). Applications are due June 8. For more information and to apply.
HRSA-20-113:Building Capacity to Implement Rapid Antiretroviral (ART) Initiation for Improved Care Engagement – Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider
This NOFO seeks applications to support a single organization that will conduct a rigorous multi-site evaluation on the implementation of rapid ART start interventions and facilitate technical assistance (TA) to a cohort of implementation sites (funded separately through HRSA-20-114, see below) to promote a “rapid start” connection or accelerated entry into HIV medical care and rapid initiation of ART for people with HIV who are newly diagnosed, new to care, or out of care. The pre-application webinar will be held April 29 from 3:00-4:30 PM (ET). Applications are due June 15. For more information and to apply.
HRSA-20-114: Building Capacity to Implement Rapid Antiretroviral (ART) Initiation for Improved Care Engagement – Implementation Sites
This NOFO seeks applications for awards to implement and evaluate “rapid start” or accelerated entry into HIV medical care, and rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for people with HIV who are newly diagnosed, new to care, or out of care. Awards will support organizations that have the capacity and infrastructure to support rapid start implementation, but have not yet been able to, with the goal of replicating and expanding successful rapid start models. The pre-application webinar will be held April 29 from 1:00-2:30 PM (ET). Applications are due June 15. For more information and to apply.
HRSA-20-115: Improving Care and Treatment Coordination: Focusing on Black Women with HIV – Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider
This NOFO seeks applications for a single organization that will lead a multi-site evaluation and provide technical assistance (TA) to a cohort of demonstration sites (funded separately through HRSA-20-116, see below). The funded recipient will provide TA and capacity building to funded demonstration sites, work collaboratively with demonstration sites to implement a comprehensive multi-site evaluation, and disseminate successful models, findings, best practices, and lessons learned within the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) community. The pre-application webinar will be held on April 30 from 1:00-2:30 PM (ET). Applications are due June 15. For more information and to apply.
HRSA-20-116: Improving Care and Treatment Coordination: Focusing on Black Women with HIV – Demonstration Sites
This NOFO seeks applications for awards to design, implement, and evaluate bundled interventions, defined as a group of evidence-informed practices put together into a package that when implemented together produces better health outcomes than when the practices are delivered separately. Bundled interventions will address socio-cultural health determinants, expand the delivery and utilization of comprehensive HIV care and treatment services, support continuous engagement in care, and improve health outcomes for Black women with HIV in a culturally sensitive and responsive manner. Funded sites will collaborate with an Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider (see HRSA-20-115, above). The pre-application webinar will be held April 30 from 3:00-4:30 PM (ET). Applications are due June 15. For more information and to apply.
The estimated award date for all five NOFOs is September 1, 2020.
The Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA HAB) will host the 2020 National Ryan White Conference from August 11-14, 2020, at the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC.
The conference is the largest national meeting for HIV care and treatment providers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients, and other stakeholders. This year’s theme is “30 Years of Innovating Care, Optimizing Public Health, Ending the HIV Epidemic,” which is timely as HRSA recognizes a major program milestone, 30 years since the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act was first enacted.
The National Ryan White Conference is held every two years to deliver program and policy updates, share best practices and innovative models of care, and provide technical assistance to Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients and subrecipients.
When Mr Annan began his term as the new United Nations Secretary-General in 1997, the outlook for the AIDS epidemic was bleak — some 23.9 million people were living with HIV, there were 3.5 million new HIV infections and access to life-saving treatment was only available to a privileged few.
He cajoled world leaders, humbly, diplomatically, and when the message did not sink in he spoke out publicly and forcefully. “Friends, we know what it takes to turn the tide against this epidemic. It requires every president and prime minister, every parliamentarian and politician, to decide and declare that ‘AIDS stops with me. AIDS stops with me,'” he said.
Under his leadership, in 2000 the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1308, identifying AIDS as a threat to global security. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS was held — the first-ever meeting of world leaders on a health issue at the United Nations.
In 2000, at a time when less than US$ 1 billion was being invested in the AIDS response, he called for a war chest of at least US$ 7-10 billion for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. That call, and his concerted lobbying of world leaders, led to the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which went on to save millions of lives. Mr Annan remained a patron of the Global Fund, helping to ensure that it is fully funded.
As the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) got underway in Amsterdam, HIV.gov began their coverage of HIV research advances and other conference highlights with an interview of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Dr. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH.
The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health issue in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights. According to its organizers, each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programs that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic.
The theme of AIDS 2018 is “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges,” drawing attention to the need of rights-based approaches to more effectively reach key populations. AIDS 2018 aims to promote human rights based and evidence-informed HIV responses that are tailored to the needs of particularly vulnerable communities – including people living with HIV, displaced populations, men who have sex with men, people in prisons and other closed settings, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people, women and girls and young people – and collaborate in fighting the disease beyond country borders.
PBS NewsHour is airing a series called The End of AIDS: Far from Over from correspondent William Brangham and producer Jason Kane. The five reports describe why, despite major advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS, places such as Russia, Nigeria and Florida are still struggling to contain the virus.
While the series explores some of the impediments to successful treatment in these places, it also shows promising developments — like several Russians who are promoting treatment and battling discrimination in their communities.
TV Rain news anchor Pavel Lobkov, who went public with his HIV-positive status three years ago, became one of the only public figures in Russia to disclose their status. Lobkov said he wanted to show people that one can live a healthy life with HIV treatment.
Tatiana Vinogradova, deputy director of the St. Petersburg AIDS center, and her husband Andrei Skvortsov, who is living with the virus, appeared in a public ad campaign that says “People with HIV are just like you and me.”
And Alexander Chebin runs an informal network of activists in Russia collecting antiretroviral drugs and mailing them for free to HIV-positive people throughout Russia who can’t otherwise access them.
AIDSVu is an interactive online map illustrating the prevalence of HIV in the United States. The national, state and local map views on AIDSVu allow users to visually explore the HIV epidemic alongside critical resources such as HIV testing center locations, HIV treatment center locations, and NIH-Funded HIV Prevention & Vaccine Trials Sites. Themap also lets users filter HIV prevalence data by race/ethnicity, sex and age, and see how HIV prevalence is related to various social determinants of health, such as educational attainment and poverty.
The state- and county-level data on AIDSVu come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national HIV surveillance database, which is comprised of HIV surveillance reports from state and local health departments. ZIP code and census tract data come directly from state, county and city health departments, depending on which entity is responsible for HIV surveillance in a particular geographic area. AIDSVu is updated on an ongoing basis with HIV surveillance data released by CDC, as well as with new data and information from other sources as they become available.
Thirty years ago, in an April 23, 1984 press conference in Washington, D.C., the world learned that American microbiologist Robert C. Gallo and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute had proved that a retrovirus first seen by their counterparts at Institut Pasteur in Paris was the cause of AIDS.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler also announced that day that the Gallo team had created a blood test to detect antibodies produced by the body to fight infection. With it we finally had the ability to know who was infected, to screen donated blood and to track the spread of the virus.
By the time of the announcement, 4,177 AIDS cases had been reported in the United States across 45 states. New York City alone accounted for more than 1,600 cases. San Francisco, far smaller than the nation’s largest city and the East Coast’s biggest gay mecca, had more than 500 cases. The majority of these cases were among gay men of all skin tones.
Although the HIV test was originally intended to screen the blood supply, it became available to the public in early 1985. After early uncertainty about what, exactly, a positive test meant, it became clear it meant that a microbial time-bomb was ticking inside you, set to explode at some unpredictable time in a nightmare that would eventually lead to your death from the cancers, dementia, brain infections and other horrors that attack a body when HIV has destroyed the immune system.