Thirty Years of HIV: 1981- 2011

From the Morbdity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

June 3, 2011 / 60(21);689

On June 5, 1981, MMWR published a report of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five previously healthy young men in Los Angeles, California; two had died (1). This report later was acknowledged as the first published scientific account of what would become known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Thirty years after that first report, the most recent estimate is that 33.3 million persons were living with HIV infection worldwide at the end of 2009 (2).

In the United States, CDC estimates that 1,178,350 persons were living with HIV at the end of 2008 (3), with 594,496 having died from AIDS since 1981 (4). At this 30-year mark, efforts are being accelerated under the National HIV/AIDS Strategy of the United States, with goals of reducing the number of persons who become infected with HIV, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for persons living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities (5).


  1. CDC. Pneumocystis pneumonia—Los Angeles. MMWR 1981;30:250–2.
  2. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Global report: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2010. Geneva, Switzerland: UNAIDS; 2010. Available at Web Site Icon. Accessed May 26, 2011.
  3. CDC. HIV surveillance—United States, 1981–2008. MMWR 2011;60:689–93.
  4. CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and dependent areas, 2009. HIV surveillance report, vol. 21. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2010. Available at Accessed May 26, 2011.
  5. Office of National AIDS Policy. National HIV/AIDS strategy. Washington, DC: Office of National AIDS Policy; 2010. Available at Web Site Icon. Accessed May 26, 2011.

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