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16 LAPRIDE.orgIt is not easy for young people to imag-ine what HIV/AIDS was like in the '80sand '90s. Thirty years ago, my colleaguesand I were the doctors who identifiedAIDS as a new disease. Two years later,French researchers found HIV, the virusthat caused the immune deficiency. Fearturned to terror and to sadness, and hun-dreds of thousands died in the UnitedStates alone. In Los Angeles, specialimmune-suppressed wards in hospitalswere filled to capacity, with young mendying miserably with horrible and disfig-uring opportunistic diseases.At first, when case numbers weresmall, America ignored AIDS. Next, itwas pigeonholed as a "gay disease,"important only to "those" people. Therewas no sign of a compassionateresponse. Institutions struggled withhow-or even whether-to respond. Inthe prologue to his book And the BandPlayed On, the late author Randy Shiltswrote, "In those early years, the federalgovernment viewed AIDS as a budgetproblem, health officials saw it as a polit-ical problem, gay leaders consideredAIDS a public relations problem and thenews media regarded it as a homosexualproblem that wouldn't interest anybodyelse."AIDS flew below the radar until amovie star, my patient Rock Hudson,came down with it in 1985-by whichtime 12,000 cases had been diagnosed.Until then, most Americans were onlyvaguely aware that an epidemic wasunderway and that it was serious.Before Rock Hudson, the media did notconsider AIDS to be a legitimate newsstory deserving coverage. The disclosureof his AIDS diagnosis changed all that.Randy Shilts wrote, "Rock Hudson rivet-ed America's attention upon this deadlynew threat for the first time, and hisdiagnosis became a demarcation thatwould separate the history of Americabefore AIDS from the history that cameafter." The disease that had been subjectto widespread indifference finally had aface, and it was that of a Hollywoodmovie idol. Americans saw someonewith AIDS on the covers of Newsweekand People. (For the complete articleplease visit frontiersweb.com)Dr. Michael Gottlieb is still actively practicingmedicine on staff at Olympia Medical Center andas an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine atthe UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. Visitmichaelgottliebmd.comAIDS AT THIRTYBy Dr. Michael GottliebEditorial and logo Reprinted with permission from Frontiers Magazine. For the full article and continuing editorial on AIDS at Thirty, visit frontiersweb.comThe world marks the first official recognition of HIV/AIDS on June 5, 1981, the datethe Centers for Disease Control published an article titled "Pneumocystis Pneumonia"in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, written by Los Angeles-based Dr.Michael Gottlieb. At the time Gottlieb was an ambitious 33-year-old assistant profes-sor at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center specializing in immunol-ogy and looking for "teaching cases."In April 1981, Gottlieb discovered "four cases that were carbon copies" of an"apparently new" disease in "desperately ill" young gay men, two of whom werepatients of the late gay Dr. Joel Weisman. Gottlieb found Weisman to be "an astutedoctor" who "knew something was afoot among his patients," and the two started "avery good collaboration" during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.By August 1981, the CDC reported 108 cases of the new disease in America. ByFebruary 1982, the CDC reported that 251 Americans had the new disease; 99 peoplehad died. Since Gottlieb's first report, more than 25 million people have died from AIDSworldwide; an estimated 1.8 million people died as a result of AIDS in 2009 alone.Additionally, United Nations AIDS reports, by the end of 2009, estimated 33.3 millionadults worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS and 2.6 million were newly infected in2009 alone. A CDC report in 2008 found that one in five (19 percent of) men who havesex with men in 21 major cities were infected with HIV, and nearly half (44 percent)were unaware of their infection. -Karen Ocamb