Media from Maine to California, Texas to Colorado and many places in between have been reporting on the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS. In truth, the virus has been around even longer. But it was 30 years ago when the prevalence of this new and frightening disease caught the world’s attention.
Last week my blog focused on a recently released Kaiser Family Foundation study on HIV, including public perceptions about the virus and those it affects. The Kaiser research identified a growing sensitivity among the public for people with the disease, which is so very different from the early days of the epidemic.
Many of us recall the fear and ignorance about HIV. The “gay plague”, a hateful slur, was one way people described the virus. And then slowly, things started to change. Celebrities embraced the cause, raising money to fund research for a cure. Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson both lent their support to our efforts at ASF. The public began to understand that HIV disease could affect or infect anyone.
Over the past 30 years we’ve also witnessed remarkable progress toward effective treatment options. We remain hopeful a cure is coming soon. In the meantime, knowing one’s status and understanding how to avoid HIV remain our best way of stopping its spread.