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GMHC Marks 35 Years Since the CDC's First Reported "AIDS" Cases








June 3, 2016
Contact: Anthony Hayes | 917-601-0410 |


New York, New York - GMHC released the following statement in response to the first Center for Disease Control (CDC) Report noting Pneumocystis Pneumonia in 5 young, otherwise healthy, gay men. The report was released on June 5, 1981.


For many, June 5, 1981 was just like any other day, but in a very short time frame everyone quickly realized that a CDC report about 5 young, otherwise healthy, gay men, was the beginning of something significant. This Sunday, it will be 35 years to the day that the world was first introduced to what would later be known as AIDS. Since the release of this report, 71 million people have been infected with HIV and about 34 million people have died of HIV.
Today in America, HIV infection rates have stalled at 50,000 each year and we have approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV and AIDS. Looking back on all we accomplished together is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. When we begged for help in the places that had the ability to provide assistance, the doors were closed because fear and hysteria ruled the day. Our response was simple; we will do it ourselves - and we did.
Gratefully, HIV and AIDS is no longer a death sentence for most people, and we can say 35 years later that we have the tools to end the epidemic. Yet just as we were 35 years ago, we are still in need of help, and it remains to be seen if our governments will provide the resources needed to finally end the epidemic once and for all. GMHC is looking forward to the day when we can look back on the June 5th CDC report and be able to say that the epidemic is finally over. Until that day, our fight continues, and we are guided by those that left us too soon.

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About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 9,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epidemic's largest U.S. epicenter. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit