Marking the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS Epidemic

While HIV/AIDS in the US generally receives little media attention these days, there has been a recent surge in coverage in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. On June 5, 1981, the CDC’s MMWR Weekly published a brief account of a cluster of rare infections among otherwise healthy young gay men; this publication is generally regarded as the first public recognition of what came to be known as HIV/AIDS.

There have been more anniversary-related publications than we can list here, but we have included a selection of links below that speak to both the overall epidemic and a number of our project’s more targeted concerns. We are particularly excited by the opportunity to collaborate with MSNBC in commemorating this anniversary by featuring the stories of two of the older adults profiled by our project – Bill Rydwels and Anna Fowlkes. The accompanying article also quotes one of our project’s advisory panel members, Dr. Richard Wolitski of the CDC.

The history of the epidemic is, of course, still being written, but it is important to reflect on how far we have come; honor the extraordinary people who have worked, fought, and died in the struggle to get us this far; and support the exceptional people who continue that struggle today.

From The New York Times:

30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS

The Death Sentence That Defined My Life

30 Years of Fighting AIDS” (From the Education Section, “Teaching and Learning With The New York Times”)


AIDS: 30 Years Later

From POZ:

30 Years Of AIDS: POZ Commemorates A Milestone In The Pandemic

30 Things to Know on the  30th Anniversary of AIDS

The POZ Timeline

From National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday (audio + transcript):

As AIDS Turns 30, Scientists Reminisce

The Effect of AIDS on the Arts Community

From The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource:

2011: Thirty Years of AIDS

including: “Word on the Street: Where were you on June 5, 1981, when the world was first introduced to AIDS?


“30 Years of HIV/AIDS Commemoration”

Kaiser Health News

30 Years of AIDS: Guest Opinion


Have you seen other 30th anniversary tributes and remembrances that we should know about? Send us a note at