WWR: World AIDS Day

This World AIDS Day, we’re learning more about the U.S. government’s plan to eliminate HIV/AIDS and reading more about the history of HIV/AIDS.

Washington Post – “Clinton reveals ‘blueprint’ for reaching an ‘AIDS-free generation’ “ With the help of Foundation Ambassador Florence Ngobeni-Allen, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton released a new plan to reach a generation free of HIV/AIDS. The “PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-Free Generation” focuses on encouraging circumcision in high-impact countries, getting more people living with HIV on treatment plans, and promoting prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) efforts worldwide.

EGPAF – “PEPFAR Blueprint Provides Promise and Road Map for Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation that Begins with Children” Foundation CEO Charles Lyons released this statement on the PEPFAR blueprint yesterday, supporting the U.S. government’s efforts to end the epidemic by focusing on women and children and working to eliminate new infections among infants and children. EGPAF was one of the first partners to work with PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

The Raw Story – “Secretary Clinton unveils roadmap to AIDS-free generation” This article goes into more detail about the PEPFAR blueprint’s focus on PMTCT and eliminating HIV infections among infants and children. Through PMTCT, women can reduce the risk of passing on HIV to her baby to less than 2%, but hundreds of thousands of babies are born with HIV each year.

To honor the 24th World AIDS Day, below are several articles from the first few years of the epidemic. Spanning 1981-1983, these articles are from a time when AIDS was a death sentence and people living with HIV/AIDS were isolated from their families and communities because of fear and stigma. Because of Elizabeth Glaser and countless others who worked tirelessly for the needs and rights of people living with HIV, we have newfound hope for an end to the epidemic. But this year, and every year, it’s important to remember our history.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – “Pneumocystis Pneumonia --- Los Angeles” This June 5th, 1981 release from the U.S. CDC is the first-ever mention of the disease we now know as AIDS. Five young gay men developed opportunistic infections – including rare forms of pneumonia – and two died.

New York Times – “RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS” This article is the first mention of what we now know as HIV/AIDS in the New York Times. It’s interesting to note that at the time, it was believed to be a form of rapidly developing cancer. But the lack of understanding of the disease, though understandable, is still devastating – “Dr. Curran said there was no apparent danger to nonhomosexuals from contagion. ''The best evidence against contagion,'' he said, ''is that no cases have been reported to date outside the homosexual community or in women.''

New York Times – “CONCERN OVER AIDS GROWS INTERNATIONALLY” Two years after the disease was first identified, this article provides an overview of how other countries were responding to AIDS. At the time, the United States was the epicenter of the epidemic, leading countries in Europe to ban the importation of blood from the United States. But there was little thought that AIDS would become a global crisis.

Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.