Doctors in California and New York were baffled as young men died from a rare form of cancer and incidences of pneumonia.
Thirty years and millions of lives later, we know what was killing them: HIV/AIDS.
To the left is The Washington Post’s first mention of the disease. It appeared on page A10 on July 4, 1981, as a digest item in a roundup of other national stories.
The Post mentioned the mysterious medical cases at least three more times in 1981.
According to archives, the term “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” first appeared in The Post on Friday, Dec. 10, 1982. It was a front page story with the headline, “Immune Disease Linked to Blood in Transfusion.”
Up until that point, just 788 cases were identified and doctors said 295 of those people died, according to The Post report.
Today is the 25th World AIDS Day. At the end of last year, there were about 34 million people with HIV. Scientists hope that in just a few more years, we’ll be back to where we were before 1981: a world without AIDS.