Saturday 5 June 2021

the morbidity and mortality weekly report

In a bulletin published on this day in 1981 by the US health authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five individuals in Los Angeles are reported to be suffering from a rare form of opportunistic pneumonia that only occurs in people with a compromised immune system. Though first appearing in an article in the homosexual publication the New York Native a couple of weeks prior describing the other comorbidity of Kaposi's sarcoma with warnings directed towards the CDC of a “gay cancer” the five were considered to be the first clinically diagnosed with what became known as AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Before settling on the above, accepted naming-convention, the disease was usually referred to its associated pathologies or by the acronym GRID—gay-related immune deficiency, or the even worse “4-H disease” with affected communities seemingly confined to heroin-users, homosexuals, haemophiliacs and Haitians—both dropped once it was shown that the disease was not isolated to any one group, though the stigma and discrimination endures. Approaching forty million live with AIDS and at least thirty-five million have died from it since the discovery.