June 5th, 1981 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports had an article on five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) among previously healthy young men in Los Angeles. This was the beginning of our journey into the puzzle that has been HIV/AIDS. I remember sitting in a series of Grand Rounds in medical school, and then residency, as some of the pieces of the puzzle came together: homosexual males, Kaposi's sarcoma, severe immune deficiency and death from "opportunistic organisms."
The AIDS story has been full of tragedy and fear---and though we still have a long way to go, it is also a story of scientific triumph. In the US it is not quite the same death sentence as before. In Africa, the battles to alter cultures and manage the disease amidst poverty have proved the greater challenge.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has put together an interactive Global HIV/AIDS Timeline in which you can scan the milestones from 3 decades of effort.
Just another example of how where there is wealth, the possibilities are so much greater and how poverty is the biggest killer of all.