HIV and AIDS is one of the biggest challenges of our era. Today, we have the once in a lifetime opportunity to beat what killed more than 28 million people so far.
A lot of progress has been made ever since the disease first appeared in the USA and the African continent in the 1980s. However much remains to be done to beat the virus: Currently, 34 million people live witn HIV and only half of them has access to treatment. To get a better grasp of the origins and the status quo of the fight for the end of AIDS, have a closer look at the history below:
1981 - The first cases of AIDS appear in the USA. However, back then nobody knew that it was AIDS. At first AIDS was called Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID), also known as gay cancer.
1982 - Because of the fact that the first AIDS patients were gay men, the first HIV organization grew out of the gay scene - Gay Men's Health Crisis was founded in New York and still exists.
1983 - Only one year later the Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe was founded in Berlin. Until today, 120 local AIDS-Hilfen where added.
1986 - Those days were marked with early success searching for a suitable medication for a HIV infection. Azidothymidine AZT-which had prooved to be ineffective for cancer treatment- showed positive impact with the treatment of HIV patients.
1987 - AZT is approved for the treatment of HIV. Until this moment it was the most expensive prescription medication in the world. In those days, the costs for treating a HIV patient were around 10.000 USD per year.
1988 - The World Health Organization declared December 1st as World-AIDS-Day.
1991 - The artist group Visual AIDS designed the Red Ribbon as an international symbol of solidarity with people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
1992 - 100.000 of these ribbons are distributed during a Freddy Mercury tribute concert. The lead singer of the band Queen had died of AIDS shortly before that.
1996 - The UN starts their UNAIDS program to combine the international measures against HIV and AIDS.
1999 - Despite all efforts, the disease reaches a sad record and becomes the fourth major cause of death of all times.
2002 - As a reaction to the pandemic the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria was created.
2003 - The WHO published the "3by5" plan with the goal to provide 3 mil people in developing countries with antiretoviral therapy by 2005.
2004 - The UN released a report whereby HIV is spreading faster in Russia and Eastern Europe than anywhere else in the world.
2005 - Makgatho Mandela, the son of the South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, dies of AIDS.
2006 - Rockstar Bono initiates the brand RED and supports the Global Fund through the sale of its products.
2008 - The American Senat and the House of Representatives signed the President's Emergency Relief Plan for AIDS. But the entry ban for people living with HIV was abolished only two years later – after a period of 22 years.
2009 - UNAIDS and the WHO published a report whereby the number of HIV+ people with access to treatment has risen by 36%.
2011 - The Global Fund had to cancel its 11th round of funding because of declining financial contributions of the donor countries.
Massive achievements in access to therapy
First HAART become available as generics
Sources: Avert, Deutsche AIDS Hilfe, ondamaris