AIDS at 32

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from June 5, 1981 that first publicized the existence of what would later be known as AIDS.


June 5, 2013 marked 32 years since the first reported case of the disease that would go on to be known as AIDS. To commemorate the date, Kergan Edwards-Stout, author of the novel Songs for the New Depression, about one man's battle with AIDS, reached out to 32 activists to find out HIV/AIDS have affected their lives. He interviewed both people who faced the onslaught at its peak in the 1980s and early 1990s and those who are younger and have never known a world without AIDS. You can read the full article, “AIDS at 32: For Whom the Bell Tolls (32 Notables Share Their Stories)” on the Huffington Post.

Edwards-Stout’s piece reminds us how far we have come since the beginning of the epidemic. In the early 1980s, AIDS was often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and dismissed as a disease exclusively infecting gay men, immigrants, or intravenous drug users. But thanks to the courageous work of HIV-positive activists such as Elizabeth Glaser, we know now that the disease impacts everyone, including children. According to UNAIDS, 900 children are born HIV-positive each day.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) works to honor Elizabeth’s legacy and her tireless effort to treat and prevent pediatric AIDS infections. Thanks to Elizabeth’s work and the commitments from programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund, and non-governmental organizations around the world, an AIDS-free generation is within our reach.

Johanna Harvey is Senior Communications Officer at the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.