Living with AIDS
Inspiring Stories of People Living with HIV and AIDS
One of the most devastating epidemics in human history began with little fanfare in 1981 when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released a nine-paragraph report detailing five cases of an unusual disease in gay men.
The disease in the report, which came to be known as AIDS, soon would grab headlines nationwide. In the years since, it's never let go. Shortly after the report's release, doctors and scientists worldwide rapidly realized they were up against a new and little-understood viral foe with an almost sinister ability to outwit that most powerful of disease fighters--the human immune system. In turn, public fears mounted as news reports detailed the lack of medical weapons with which to assault this new, frightening disease and its potential to spread to those previously not thought to be at risk.
In the past two decades, many of these fears have been realized. AIDS has indeed become a 21st century plague. Fifty-eight million people worldwide have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. Twenty-two million have died after the virus rendered their immune system nearly defenseless, leaving them open to some types of cancer, nerve degeneration and opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia that physicians once thought were under control.
We wanted to put a human face on AIDS. On the following pages are just a few of the stories of people living with HIV and AIDS and the impact AIDS has had on their lives.
next: AIDS True Stories
Last Updated: 08 April 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD