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HIV and 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.


  • June 5: First official reporting of what will be known as AIDS.
  • June: CDC forms Task Force on Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections.
    • About 30 Epidemic Intelligence Service officers and staff participated.
  • July 3: Report of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia in 26 homosexual men in New York and California.
  • In 1981 there were 42,200 estimated people living with HIV and 20,000 estimated new HIV infections


medical blood bags


clipping from MMWR about the National AIDS Hotline


  • July 13: Needle-sharing identified as transmission method.
  • Project SIDA begins in Africa.
    • CDC, along with colleagues from Zaire and Belgium, establishes Project SIDA, which would become the largest HIV/AIDS research project in Africa in the 1980s.
  • In 1984 there were 297,000 estimated people living with HIV and 130,400 estimated new HIV infections
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.


a microscopic image of AIDS
  • January 11: Revised AIDS case definition notes AIDS is caused by HIV. Blood screening guidelines issued.
  • First presentation about AIDS in Africa at CDC-hosted first International Conference on AIDS in Atlanta, GA.
  • In 1985 there were 420,000 estimated people living with HIV and 130,400 estimated new HIV infections


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


  • August: CDC holds the first national conference on HIV and Communities of Color in New York.
  • August 14: CDC issues Perspectives in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Public Health Service Guidelines for Counseling and Antibody Testing to Prevent HIV Infections and AIDS.
  • CDC launches first AIDS-related public service announcement, "America Responds to AIDS."
  • CDC expands work in Africa.
    • CDC begins working in Côte d'Ivoire, establishing a field station in Abidjan and launching the Retrovirus Côte d'Ivoire (CDC Retro-CI).
  • In 1987 there were 562,000 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.


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


  • July: Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic (LIFE) launched to combat AIDS in Africa.
  • December 10: CDC releases a new HIV case definition to help state health departments expand their HIV surveillance efforts and more accurately track the changing course of the epidemic.
  • In 1999 there were 863,000 estimated people living with HIV and 58,400 estimated new HIV infections
Map of Africa
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
  • Over two-thirds of new HIV infections in US are from those who do not know they are infected.
  • April 18: CDC announces new initiatives to get people living with HIV diagnosed and into care and treatment.
  • $18 billion allocated to PEPFAR.
    • Congress authorizes PEPFAR (the "US Leadership Against HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003" or Global AIDS Act), a 5-year, $18 billion approach to fighting HIV/AIDS, making it the largest commitment by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease.
  • In 2003 there were 994,000 estimated people living with HIV and 55,400 estimated new HIV infections


  • January 30: CDC releases guidance for HIV testing during labor and delivery for women of unknown HIV status.
  • PEPFAR ART program launched in 13 countries.
    • PEPFAR's Track 1.0 Antiretroviral Therapy Program is launched in partnership with Ministries of Health in 13 countries, and CDC, along with HHS sister-agency HRSA, plays a leading role.
  • In 2004 there were 1,031,000 estimated people living with HIV and 55,400 estimated new HIV infections
flags from 13 countries where PEPFAR's Track 1 Antiretroviral Therapy was launched
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.


Photo of press release titled "CDC Issues Updated Guidelines on Use of Antiretroviral Drugs to Prevent HIV Infection After Sexual, Drugs Use, and Accidental Exposure."
  • January 21: CDC releases recommendations to prevent HIV after non-occupational exposure to the virus.
    • These recommendations, called non-occupational post- exposure prophylaxis or nPEP, noted that antiretrovial drugs might be beneficial in preventing HIV infection after exposure through sex or injection drug use begun within 72 hours after exposure.
  • In 2005 there were 1,067,000 estimated people living with HIV and 55,400 estimated new HIV infections


  • September 22: CDC releases new HIV testing recommendations.
Photo of CDC HIV/AIDS Science Facts titled "CDC Releases Revised HIV Testing Recommendations in Healthcare Settings."


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.
    • CDC releases new domestic incidence estimates that are higher than previous estimates (56,300 new infections per year vs 40,000). The new estimates do not represent an actual increase in the numbers of HIV infections, but reflect a more accurate way of measuring new infections.
  • 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.
  • CDC launches the High Impact HIV Prevention (HIP) framework to reduce new HIV infections in the United States.
    • HIP focuses on using combinations of scientifically proven, cost-effective, and scalable interventions targeted to the right populations in the right geographic areas in order to increase the impact of HIV prevention efforts.
  • January 28: CDC issues interim guidance to health care providers on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as an HIV prevention strategy among men who have sex with men.
  • July 13: CDC reports that drugs to treat HIV can also reduce HIV acquisition.
    • CDC studies TDF2s and Partner PrEP provide the first evidence that a daily oral dose of antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV infection can also reduce HIV acquisition among uninfected individuals exposed to the virus through heterosexual sex.
  • August: CDC releases new HIV incidence estimates.
    • The annual number of new HIV infections in the United States was relatively stable at approximately 50,000 new infections each year between 2006 and 2009. However, HIV infections increased among young gay and bisexual men, driven by increases among young, black gay and bisexual men – the only subpopulation to experience a sustained increase during the time period.
  • September: In conjunction with the fourth National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awards $55 million to 34 community-based organizations (CBOs) to expand HIV prevention for young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender youth of color.
  • November: CDC's Vital Signs shows that of the 1.2 million people living with HIV, 1 in 5 do not know they are infected and 1 in 4 are taking HIV medicines regularly and have their virus under control.
  • November: CDC launches Testing Makes Us Stronger, a national HIV testing campaign for young African American gay and bisexual men who have sex with men.
  • Treatment of HIV shown to reduce transmission nearly 96%.
    • NIH's HPTN 052 study results are released demonstrating that treatment reduces transmission of HIV by nearly 96% and ushers in the concept of "treatment as prevention."
  • In 2011 there were 1,194,300 estimated people living with HIV and 41,919 estimated new HIV diagnoses


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.
  • 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.
  • In 2015 there were and 39,393 estimated new HIV diagnoses


Graph showing lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis among men who have sex with men by race/ethnicity is 1 in 2 for African American MSM, 1 in 4 for Hispanic MSM, and 1 in 11 for White MSM. Graph showing African Americans with HIV are least likely to receive consistent medical care compared to Hispanics/Latinos and Whites. Image from Vital Signs showing 1 in 10 HIV diagnoses are among people who inject drugs, more than half of people who inject drugs used syringe service program in 2015, and only 1 in 4 got all of their syringes from a syringe service program in 2015.
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.