AIDS at 25

Twenty-five years ago, in 1981, the Center for Disease Control reported its first cases of AIDS. It was a mystery killer. It looked like pneumonia. It looked like skin cancer. It looked like the problem of a handful of gay men.

A quarter century on, at 25, AIDS is a huge global epidemic, the fourth biggest killer on the planet. In between has come panic and sexual fear, condom distribution and needle exchanges, Ronald Reagan and Magic Johnson, and Tom Hanks talking about things we had never talked about publicly before.

Today, more than a million Americans are HIV positive. More women, more blacks, more heterosexuals. And globally, especially in Africa, it’s a forest fire. But there’s hope, too.

Hear about the plague of AIDS at 25.


Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE and a leading authority on AIDS. She formerly directed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s HIV, TB and Reproductive Health program.

John-Manuel Andriote, journalist and author of “Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America.” His commentary in The Washington Post was “AIDS: For 20 Years, HIV Was My Livelihood, Now It’s My Life”.

Pernessa Seele, founder of Balm in Gilead, a nonprofit that helps 15,000 churches nationwide and some in Africa educate their members about AIDS.

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