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CDC's HIV/AIDs Timeline
CDC has played an historic role in addressing the HIV epidemic in the United States and around the world. Since the early days, when its surveillance was critical to laying the foundation for a public health response, CDC has provided surveillance, innovative science, and guidance to partners to understand, prevent, and treat HIV. It is a testament to the work of CDC and its many partners that the annual number of new HIV infections has remained stable over the past decades, at levels much lower than in years past.
Early 1980s 
A new disease appears. Research shows it can be transmitted sexually, through donated blood, injection drug use, and from pregnant women to their babies. International effects are recognized. 




medical blood bags


clipping from MMWR about the National AIDS Hotline


closeup of a hyperdermic needle
CDC issues safeguards for the nation's blood supply. National and international response grows. US government orchestrates massive public outreach.


cover of Dr. Koop's Report on AIDS
  • October 22: Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, issues the Surgeon General's Report on AIDS. The report makes it clear that HIV cannot be spread casually and calls for a nationwide education campaign (including early sex education in schools), increased use of condoms, and voluntary HIV testing.
  • In 1986 there were 493,000 estimated people living with HIV and 84,800 estimated new HIV infections


an America Responds to AIDS ad featuring Jolene Connor
HIV transmission from healthcare worker reported. CDC issues recommendations for healthcare workers with HIV and for organ transplantation. AIDS deaths increase. CDC expands prevention efforts into businesses, labor, and community organizations.


Logos of Business Responds to AIDS and Labor Responds to AIDS


cover of community planning document
  • Community-planning process launched.
    • CDC institutes the community-planning process to better target local prevention efforts.
  • In 1993 there were 757,000 estimated people living with HIV and 48,700 estimated new HIV infections
Guidelines issued to prevent opportunistic infections (OIs) and for the use of antiretroviral therapy. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) introduced; AIDS deaths decline. US racial/ethnic disparities are notable. Africa efforts expand.


  • In 1995 there were 750,000 estimated people living with HIV and 48,800 estimated new HIV infections
Electron microscope photo of HIV


  • UNAIDS established.
  • In 1996 there were 759,000 estimated people living with HIV and 48,800 estimated new HIV infections


Global AIDS programs and funding increase as economic concerns over pandemic increase; US emphasizes HIV prevention with people living with HIV.


Logo for Advancing HIV Prevention, new strategies for a changing epidemic 
Logo for PEPFAR
CDC issues recommendations on HIV prevention and testing, releases new incidence estimates, launches new HIV prevention campaigns for general public and healthcare providers. Global programs grow.


Prevention is Care logo
  • October: CDC launches Prevention IS Care campaign for healthcare providers who deliver care to people living with HIV.
    • The campaign emphasizes the importance of helping patients stay on HIV treatment.
  • CDC reports over 562,000 people have died of AIDS in the US since 1981.
  • PEPFAR and Becton Dickinson strengthen lab capacity in Africa.
    • PEPFAR, with CDC support, announces a public-private partnership with Becton Dickinson to strengthen laboratory capacity in four African countries; the partnership was renewed for an additional five years in 2013.
  • In 2007 there were 1,113,800 estimated people living with HIV and 53,200 estimated new HIV infections


  • August 6: CDC estimates there are 56,300 new HIV cases each year in the United States.
  • Congress reauthorizes and expands PEPFAR funding to $48 billion.
    • Congress reauthorizes PEPFAR (the "Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008") and expands the initiative by more than tripling its funding to $48 billion. The global response emphasizes a shift to building sustainable, country-owned programs that integrate HIV/AIDS services into broader health systems.
  • In 2008 there were 1,134,500 estimated people living with HIV and 48,294 estimated new HIV diagnoses
Photo of “Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States” article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Act Against AIDS logo
  • Global Health Initiative announced.
    • President Barack Obama announces the Global Health Initiative, a 6-year initiative to develop a comprehensive approach to global health with PEPFAR at its core.
  • The Shuga Initiative established.
    • PEPFAR and CDC establish The Shuga Initiative in partnership with the MTV Networks Africa, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Gates Foundation, and UNICEF to increase HIV-risk perception, increase uptake of HIV-testing and counseling services, and increase knowledge of HIV-prevention strategies among youth in Kenya, Nigeria, and Botswana.
  • April 7: Act Against AIDS launched.
    • CDC and the White House launch Act Against AIDS, a multiyear, multifaceted communication campaign designed to reduce HIV incidence in the United States.
  • In 2009 there were 1,152,900 estimated people living with HIV and 45,748 estimated new HIV diagnoses
Non-US citizens living with HIV can enter US, CDC announced High Impact Prevention and focuses funding where the US HIV burden is greatest. Prexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) shown to prevent HIV transmission, as does reducing viral load through treatment. Racial/ethnic disparities persist.


  • HIV infection removed from disease list that prevents non-US citizens from entering country.
    • Department of Health & Human Services and CDC remove HIV infection from the list of diseases that prevent non-US citizens from entering the country.
  • September: Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Planning (ECHHP) project launched in 12 cities with high AIDS burden.
    • CDC launched the project to shift HIV-related activities to meet goals of the 2010 National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Twelve health departments in cities with high AIDS burdens participated.
  • In 2010 there were 1,031,000 estimated people living with HIV and 55,400 estimated new HIV diagnoses
Photo of headline "US lifts restriction on visas to HIV-positive foreigners."


Photo of cover of High-Impact HIV Prevention: CDC's Approach to Reducing HIV Infections in the United States 
Poster from Testing Makes Us Stronger, with two African American men.


Poster from Take Charge. Take the Test. Showing African American heterosexual couple. 
Poster from Let's Stop HIV Together with African American male couple.


Poster from Reasons/Razones, CDC's bilingual campaign that asks Latino gay and bisexual med to consider their reasons for getting tested for HIV.
  • June: CDC launches Reasons/Razones, a national, bilingual campaign that asks Latino gay and bisexual men to consider their reasons for getting tested for HIV.
  • June 14: CDC publishes interim guidance on PrEP for people who inject drugs; notes that PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV among people who inject drugs by 49% in people who adhered to the regimen.
  • PEPFAR reauthorized.
    • The "PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013" reauthorizes PEPFAR,extends a number of existing authorities, and strengthens the oversight of the program through updated reporting requirements.
  • In 2013 there were 1,242,000 estimated people living with HIV and 39,443 estimated new HIV diagnoses


Poster from CDC's HIV Treatment Works campaign 
Co-infections addressed, more data about transmission, HIV diagnoses data show progress and challenges, PrEP holds promise.


Graph of states ranked by percentage of people aged 13 and older living with HIV who are aware of their infection. 
Image from Vital Signs showing that 1 in 3 primary care doctors and nurses have not heard of PrEP. Logo for HIV Risk Reduction Tool
  • February 25: 184 cases of HIV linked to injection drug use in Indiana.
    • Indiana state health officials announce an HIV outbreak linked to injection drug use in the southeastern portion of the state. By the end of the year, Indiana will confirm 184 new cases of HIV linked to the outbreak.
  • April: CDC announces that 90% of new HIV diagnoses are due to individuals who are undiagnosed, or diagnosed but not on treatment.
  • April: CDC issued a Health Advisory to alert public health departments and health care providers nationwide of a growing hepatitis C epidemic among people who inject drugs and the possibility of an outbreak of HIV among this population.
  • June: Many states within reach of the NHAS objective of increasing to 90% the proportion of people living with HIV who are aware of their status.
  • October 8: CDC announces HIV diagnoses have increased sharply among gay and bisexual Latino men despite an overall decline in new HIV diagnoses among Latinos.
  • November 24: CDC estimates that 1 in 4 gay/bisexual men, 1 in 5 people who inject drugs, and 1 in 200 heterosexuals should be counseled about PrEP.
  • December 6: Overall, US HIV diagnoses decreased over past decade, but some groups experienced increases.
    • CDC announces that annual HIV diagnoses in the US fell by 19% from 2005-2014. There were steep declines among heterosexuals, people who inject drugs, and African Americans (especially black women), but trends for gay/bisexual men varied by race/ ethnicity. Diagnoses among white gay/bisexual men decreased by 18%, but they continued to rise among Latino gay/bisexual men and were up 24%. Diagnoses among black gay/bisexual men also increased (22%), but the increase has leveled off since 2010.
  • December 2015: CDC releases the HIV Risk Reduction Tool at the National HIV Prevention Conference. 
  • In 2015 there were and 39,393 estimated new HIV diagnoses


Bar chart of Lifetime risk of HIV Diagnosis among MSM by Race/Ethnicity showing African American MSM have a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of and HIV diagnosis, Hispanic MSM have a 1 in 4 risk, and white MSM have a 1 in 11 risk. Line graph showing that African Americans with HIV are least likely to receive consistent medical care. Vital signs graphic showing 1 in 10 HIV diagnoses are among people who inject drugs.


Graphic showing estimated annual HIV infections in the US declined 18% between 2008 and 2014. Bar chart showing HIV Care Continuum in the US, 2014, when an estimated 1.1 million people were living with HIV. Logo for Prescribe HIV Prevention


Graphic showing PrEP is not reaching most who could potentially benefit – especially African Americans and Latinos. Logo for Transforming Health, a website for transgender people.


Logo for Ending the HIV Epidemic Graphic for Ending the HIV Epidemic: A plan for America Logo for Let's Stop HIV Together Logo for HIV Nexus Graphic with Key actions to help end the HIV epidemic. Prevent, Test, Treat.


Image of coronavirus
Logos for the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

* Estimates of persons living with HIV infection (diagnosed or undiagnosed) were derived by using back-calculation on HIV data for persons aged ≥13 years at diagnosis in the 50 states and the District of Columbia

** The methodology to derive the estimated annual number of new HIV infections (also called HIV incidence) has changed over the years. From 1980 through 2006, numbers of HIV infections were calculated using back-calculation methodology. From 2006 through 2010, HIV infections were estimated from a statistical method that applied a stratified extrapolation approach using results from a test for recent HIV infection and HIV testing history data collected by jurisdictions that conducted HIV incidence surveillance.

*** The estimate of the number of persons diagnosed with HIV are based on HIV surveillance data for persons aged≥ 13 at time of diagnosis in the 50 states and District of Columbia.