1981 June 5

CDC Releases First Report on HIV / AIDS


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on this day issued its first report identifying what would later be called HIV/AIDS as a medical crisis.  The New York Times first reported on the AIDS crisis one month after the CDC report, on July 3, 1981.

President Ronald Reagan, unable to confront the issue of homosexuality and under pressure from his political supporters among religious conservatives,  ignored the crisis for several years, and, as a result, federal programs to deal with the epidemic were delayed. On August 28, 1987 the Reagan administration adopted a policy of denying visas to people with HIV/AIDS.

President Bill Clinton was responsive to the HIV/AIDS, and on December 6, 1995 hosted the first White House conference on the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Don’t miss: David France, How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of  How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS (1916)

Read the First CDC Report: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/june_5.htm

Learn more about the early years of the AIDS crisis: Randy Shilts, And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic (1988)

Study a timeline on HIV/AIDS: http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/aids-timeline/

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