San Francisco is the focus for the 25th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS. In June, 1981, the city’s top health official, Dr Mervyn Silverman, received reports about a mystery illness afflicting some gay menTalking about his reaction at the time, he said: “Wait a minute, we’re seeing patients that have similar symptoms, and that’s when it became very clear that we weren’t dealing with a medical oddity but something much more pervasive.” That year there were five reported AIDS cases – today, the disease has claimed at least 25 million lives. The gay community was quick to mobilise and public awareness was raised by some high profile cases, including that of actor Rock Hudson. Latest figures show an estimated 39 million people are living with HIV around the world, and last year about four million were newly infected with the virus.
25th anniversary of first reported AIDS cases