The Center for Disease Control issued the first official notice of the disease that would become known as AIDS 30 years ago on June 5. My current home, San Francisco, was especially hard hit. NPR interviews physicians at the San Francisco General Hospital and the Center of AIDS Research at University of California, San Francisco.
“At the beginning, we knew all of the patients that we took care of in San Francisco and we knew all the patients in San Francisco with the disease. But then the numbers started to increase, increase, increase, even in those early years and then we didn’t know their names. And then I said, wow, this is big. I think, let’s say, 1991, San Francisco was just devastated. I mean, men were walking around in the Castro as skeletons suffering from the wasting syndrome.
I remember on a TV interview telling the woman interviewing me that my grandmother complained that all of her friends were demented or dying. And I said, yeah, grandma, so were mine and I’m, you know, quite a bit younger than you are. But it was exhausting but we fought on.”
To help fight to cure AIDS, you can donate to UCSF’s AIDS Research Institute or the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).