As we prepare to enter our 25th year, we are reflecting on the global HIV events from the last three decades. HIV has swept across the globe and support touching communities on every continent. Here’s an introduction to some of the key moments in the early global history of HIV. Catch up on the story using the ‘Recent Posts’ link to the right.
One of the primary routes of HIV transmission is through direct contact between your blood and HIV infected blood. Although the majority of HIV infections via blood occur through injecting drug use, medical settings still account for a significant number of new HIV infections. Across the world numerous cases of HIV transmission through blood transfusions, medical injections, medical waste and occupational exposure, are both reported and unreported.
There are an estimated 250,000 new infections per year as a result of the reuse of needles and syringes,1 and in Africa 250 to 500 people are newly infected with HIV each day as a result of unsafe blood transfusions.2 3 Testing of blood is essential but remains absent in many low and middle-income countries.
In 1990, at the beginning of the year, it was reported that a large number of children in Romanian hospitals and orphanages had become infected with HIV as a result of multiple blood transfusions and the reuse of needles.
In China, 146 people in Yunnan Province near the Burmese border were found to be infected with HIV due to sharing needles.
In June, a TV programme called ‘The AIDS Catch’ was screened in the UK, questioning whether HIV caused AIDS and whether AIDS was infectious. It was felt the programme caused significant distress among people with HIV and undermined the efforts carried out in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention.
Prime Minister John Major announced that the Government would pay £42 million compensation to haemophiliacs infected with HIV and their dependants.
British actor Ian Charleson was a Scottish stage and film actor best known internationally for his starring role as Olympic athlete and missionary Eric Liddell, in the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire. He is also well known for his portrayal of Rev. Charlie Andrews in the 1982 Oscar-winning film Gandhi.
Charleson was a noted actor on the British stage as well, with critically acclaimed leads in Guys and Dolls, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fool for Love, and Hamlet, among many others. Over the course of his life Charleson performed numerous major Shakespearean roles, dies on January 6, 1990 from AIDS at the age of 40. His death marked the first showbusiness death in the United Kingdom openly attributed to complications from AIDS.
Later, in 1991, the annual Ian Charleson Awards are established in his honour in to reward the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors aged under 30.
Teenager Ryan White, who in 1987 had surgery to remove two inches off his left lung and believed this was the moment of his infection, dies on April 8, 1990 at the age of 18 from pneumonia caused by AIDS complications.
Congress enacted The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act or Ryan White Care Act, the United States’ largest federally funded health related program (excluding Medicaid and Medicare).
- A History of HIV & AIDS (lass.org.uk)
- A History of HIV & AIDS – 1987 (lass.org.uk)
- A History of HIV & AIDS – 1988 (lass.org.uk)
- A History of HIV & AIDS – 1989 (lass.org.uk)