Federal Leaders Reflect on 35th Anniversary of First AIDS Diagnoses

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This Saturday, June 5, marks the 35th anniversary of the first reported cases of what would become known as AIDS in the United States.

Dr. Richard Wolitski, Acting Director of the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP), reflected on the toll that HIV/AIDS has taken in the United States and around the world, as well as on important progress that has been made in the response to HIV/AIDS over the past 35 years

He noted, that much of the progress has been the result of scientific breakthroughs such as HIV testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and antiretroviral treatment. But Dr. Wolitski underscored that it hasn’t been science alone that has altered the course of the HIV epidemic in the United States. The infections averted and lives saved have been the result of many sectors of society coming together to make sure that these important scientific advances were deployed effectively to the people who needed them.

“If we all do our part, we can stop marking these milestones, we can stop counting the infections, we can stop adding up the deaths. And we can look back on HIV as something that’s a part of our past and part of our history—but not a part of our future,” he concluded.