About HIV

HIV/AIDS milestones

1981
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports first cases of rare pneumonia in young gay men, which is later diagnosed as AIDS related.

1985
The first-ever blood screening test for HIV antibodies, developed by Abbott, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Actor Rock Hudson announces that he has AIDS and dies later this year. AFC is founded by four local visionaries: Dr. Ron Sable, Dr. Renslow Sherer, Judy Carter and William Young.

1986
President Reagan first mentions AIDS in public. AFC creates the Service Providers Council to bring together community agencies in the fight against AIDS.

1987
The FDA approves AZT, the first antiretroviral medication for the treatment of HIV. Marshall Field’s hosts Show of Concern and raises more than $500,000 for AFC’s grantmaking program.

1989
AFC establishes the Northeastern Illinois HIV/AIDS Case Management Cooperative, a network of community agencies providing case management services to people with HIV/AIDS.

1990
Ryan White dies of AIDS. Congress enacts the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which provides federal funds for care and treatment services.

1991
Red ribbon is introduced as the international symbol of AIDS awareness and solidarity. NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson announces that he is HIV-positive and retires from basketball. AFC receives Ryan White CARE Act funds for case management and other critical support services.

1992
AIDS becomes the number one cause of death for American men 25-44 years of age. AFC leads a successful campaign to prevent the state from closing a critical Medicaid program for hundreds of persons living with AIDS.

1994
Public Health Service recommends use of AZT by pregnant women to reduce perinatal transmission, showing up to 70% reduction in transmission rates. AFC extends its case management and related services to beyond the city and suburban Cook County to McHenry, DuPage, Lake, Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, Grundy, and Will Counties.

1995
FDA approves first protease inhibitor for use in combination with other HIV drugs, or highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). AFC publishes the city’s first-ever AIDS housing strategic plan, resulting in increased housing units for people living with HIV and improved coordination and collaboration among local providers.

1997
Annual AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. decline by more than 40% largely due to the advent of combination drug therapy. AFC saves the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program from collapse by convincing Governor Edgar and the Illinois General Assembly to increase state funding by $8 million.

1998
Minority AIDS Initiative created in U.S., after African American leaders declare a “state of emergency” and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to do the same.

1999
AFC funds initiative that links HIV-positive individuals returning to the community from correctional settings with health care services.

2000
13th International AIDS Conference (“Breaking the Silence”) convenes in Durban, South Africa. It’s the first such meeting in a developing nation, heightening awareness of the global pandemic.

2001
40 million people are living with HIV worldwide, according to the Joint United National Programme on HIV/AIDS. AFC launches a new prevention program for people living with HIV, and expands evaluation and research programs linking local universities and community-based organizations.

2003
President Bush announces PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, during the State of the Union Address; PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion initiative to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria primarily in hard hit countries. AFC works with legislators and community organizations to help pass landmark HIV prevention legislation allowing adults to purchase and possess syringes without a prescription. The bill is signed into law by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on July 25.

2005
AFC commemorates its 20th year of service in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

2006
June 5 marks a quarter century since first AIDS case reported.

2007
AFC collaborates with state lawmakers to pass legislation expanding voluntary HIV testing while preserving patient rights to informed consent. The bill also allows for a more streamlined approach to HIV testing in medical settings.

2008
CDC releases new HIV incidence estimates for the United States, showing that the U.S. epidemic is worse than previously thought.

2009
The Obama Administration officially lifts HIV travel and immigration ban by removing the final regulatory barriers to entry. An AFC-led program that provides housing and case management to homeless adults with chronic medical illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, is found to improve health outcomes and reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Research findings are published in JAMA.

2010
Obama Administration releases first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the U.S.

2011
On June 5, the world commemorates 30 years of AIDS.

2012
The FDA approves the first drug (Truvada) to be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected individuals.

2013
U.S. Congress passes and President Obama signs the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which will allow people living with HIV to receive organs from other infected donors.

2014
Report shows viral suppression may bring HIV transmission risk close to zero.

2015
Partly in response to an HIV outbreak in Indiana, which is linked to people injecting drugs, Congress lifts restrictions that prevented states and localities from spending Federal funds for needle exchange programs.