Jul 04, 1983 Two years after AIDS is first described, misperceptions and myths about the disease run rampant. Gay men are being treated like "lepers," while untested theories about what was causing the disease, ranging from viruses to chemicals to overstimulation from sex, only confused the public and scientists more.
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Aug 12, 1985
While researchers understand more about the disease, infections spread quickly. But awareness about the disease is also growing; actor Rock Hudson comes forward with his illness, two weeks before TIME's issue is published, "finally catapult[ing] AIDS out of the closet." But for the growing number of patients, primarily gay men in their 20s with the virus, it's a death sentence.
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Nov 3, 1986
It would be another year before the first antiviral drug against HIV, AZT, is developed, but scientists are learning more about the biology of the AIDS virus, and testing new treatments, including gene therapy.
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Feb 16, 1987
As infections among heterosexual partners starts to rise, AIDS emerges from being an epidemic affecting only gay populations and IV drug users. The threat is dampening the carefree sex of the 60s and 70s, "cast[ing] a shadow over the American sexual landscape."
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Aug 03, 1992 Around the world, women are now infected with HIV almost as quickly as men. Efforts to create a vaccine are failing, and patients are developing resistance to the few antiviral drugs available.
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Dec 30, 1996
Dr. David Ho is named TIME's Man of the Year for his work in combining antiviral drugs and hitting HIV early, and hard, which prevents the virus from replicating. It's a strategy that remains the gold standard in treating HIV today, and is responsible for controlling the epidemic in the developed world.
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Feb 12, 2001
While drug therapies are corralling infections in the developed world, their cost and challenge of distributing them in low resource countries has turned countries like Africa into an AIDS graveyard. Stigma related to AIDS only encourages the virus to spread. "The word not spoken is AIDS...The ultimate tragedy is that so many people don't know--or don't want to know--what is happening," TIME writes.
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