Media Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, 40 years since the CDC published the first report on HIV in the United States | CDC Online Newsroom


Forty years later, the CDC first reported Pneumocystis pneumonia in five healthy young gay men formerly in Los Angeles. Published June 5, 1981, at Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), it is the first CDC report on what HIV is recognized. The first U.S. cases of women were reported later in the same year. Over the next five years, 29,000 cases of HIV / AIDS were reported in the U.S. With no effective treatment available in 15 years, death was the only sure outcome.

This public health crisis has led to unprecedented activity generating support for the thousands of people who die from the virus each year.

By 1995, when I was a newly trained doctor, hospitals across the country were filled with young men and women dying of AIDS.

In my early years, all I had to give my patients was my outstretched hand and my presence next to their bed. The epidemic erupted in the halls of hospitals and on the streets of Baltimore where I worked. Fifty thousand people die every year. And then we came to a point around. In December 1995 and in 1996, the FDA approved the first highly effective treatment combinations. My bedside message has changed: you can live.

Now, looking back, I know we have come a long way. A The CDC study is published today on MMWR reported that new annual HIV infections decreased 73% from 1981 to 2019. The decrease was due to the long-term work and collaboration of scientists, patients, patient advocates and communities. Focused program efforts at the federal, state, territory, tribal, and local levels have translated many advances in science and medicine into safe and effective interventions provided to people at risk.

Despite our remarkable progress, the HIV epidemic in the country continues, and we still have a lot of work to do. It is unacceptable that 37,000 people are newly diagnosed with HIV each year in the United States. Differences in diagnosis and access to treatment and prevention persist. More than half of new HIV infections are in the South, and new infections remain high among transgender women, people injecting drugs, and Black / African Americans and Hispanics. / Latino gay and gay man.

Eliminating HIV disparities requires us to use and sustain the work of many activists and public health leaders over the past four decades. We need to identify and address barriers that hinder the effective implementation of our proven prevention strategies, such as poverty, unequal access to health care, lack of access to education, stigma, and systematic racism.

the End of the HIV Epidemic in the United States The initiative sets a course to end the HIV epidemic in our country over the next decade. Use scientific and clinical tools: testing, treatment, and prevention. We need to fully fund and urgently and fairly implement what we know will work, such as PREP distribution and education, syringe service programs, and an infrastructure for quickly responding to potential HIV attacks.

In doing so, we honor everyone affected by this virus – from the five cases first reported on June 5, 1981, to the 32 million people who died from AIDS -related illnesses overall. world, including 730,000 people in this country, and even more live and fight against the virus and related stigma every day.



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