The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a worldwide health crisis involving the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a virus that attacks the immune system, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a severe phase that may occur when the immune system is badly damaged by HIV.[1] AIDS was first officially reported on June 5, 1981.[2]

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First reports[]

On June 5, 1981, the United States Center for Disease Control published an article titled "Pneumocystis Pneumonia—Los Angeles" in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The article described five young gay men who previously were healthy but then developed a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. The men had symptoms that indicated that their immune systems did not work. The report is now known as the first official reporting of the AIDS epidemic.[3]

On that same day, Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien, a dermatologist, called the U.S. Center for Disease Control and reported a series of recently discovered Kaposi's Sarcoma cases among gay men in New York and California, observed by himself and his colleagues. Kaposi's Sarcoma is a type of cancer that occurs among people with weakened immune systems and was then considered a benign, rare cancer. Before then, Friedman-Kien, as a dermatologist at the largest skin clinic in the United States, had seen 15 cases of Kaposi's Sarcoma in 24 years, mostly in elderly men from a Mediterranean or Eastern European background, not in young patients.[4]

See also[]


  1. "About HIV" on on 2022-01-13)
  2. "HIV/AIDS Timeline" by National Prevention Information Network on Published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Archived on 2022-01-13)
  3. "Pneumocystis Pneumonia --- Los Angeles" on Published 1981-06-05 by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (Archived on 2022-01-13)
  4. "Fighting AIDS" by Hopkins Tanne, Janice on Published 2008-08-12 by New York Magazine. (Archived on 2022-01-13)