On World AIDS Day, Those Who Fought the 1980s Epidemic Find Striking Differences and Tragic Parallels in COVID-19

More than three decades after the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the first World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, 1988, the world’s leading global health organization faces another public health crisis in COVID-19. On this World AIDS Day, those who raised awareness of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, find devastating similarities and haunting differences in America’s response to both crises. In 1981, scientists recorded the first cases of a rare pneumonia, usually found among immunosuppressed patients, among a group of gay men in Los Angeles, and noticed more cases appearing among gay men in San Francisco and New York City, as well as cases of the rare cancer Kaposi sarcoma. In 1982, the CDC gave those cases a name, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and scientists confirmed the virus that causes it, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in 1984. AIDS patient deaths in the U.S. steadily rose from 122 in 1981 to more than 50,000 at the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. in 1995. Since the beginning of the epidemic, about 75 million worldwide have become infected with HIV, nearly 38 million are living with it today—including roughly 1.2 million in the U.S.—and about 32 million people worldwide have died of AIDS-related illnesses, according to the United Nations. From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, comparisons have been drawn between it and the spread of AIDS. Many have pointed out the stark public response differences between the two...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 feature HIV/AIDS Source Type: news