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. AIDS was first officially reported on June 5, 1981.
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.
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.