Commemorating 40 Years of AIDS: UCSF Town Hall Friday, 6/4 + Timeline of UCSF's Contributions

year of the plague magazine cover

Dear CFAR and ARI community members,

We wanted to let you know about a special UCSF Town Hall event this Friday, June 4 from 4:00-5:30 pm commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the first description of AIDS on June 5, 1981.

Details for the UCSF Virtual Town Hall Marking HIV's 40th Anniversary
Friday, June 4 from 4:00-5:30 pm
Please click this Zoom link to join. (Passcode: 513799)

On Friday, June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this MMWR report detailing 5 young men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) who had a rare lung infection (most often seen before in organ transplant patients), specifically Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. On July 3, a second report was released that showed additional reports of Pneumocystis pneumonia and now aggressive Kaposi’s sarcoma in 26 young MSM. This was the start of the era of AIDS which launched intense research and clinical efforts here in the Bay Area, many from members of our CFAR/ARI community.

Please see a short timeline of some of the contributions of UCSF depicted pictorially below and listed here:

  • 1982: “Gay related immunodeficiency disorder” (GRID) labeled AIDS by CDC
  • 1983: Jay Levy at UCSF, with funding from the CA State AIDS Program, isolated virus, developed antibody test
  • 1983: Ward 86 opened its doors as one of the oldest HIV clinics in the country with an inpatient ward dedicated to AIDS as well
  • 1984: The San Francisco Chronicle labeled this year “The Year of the Plague” in San Francisco
  • 1984: Bath houses in San Francisco closed, followed by New York
  • 1985: First commercial ELISA for HIV diagnosis approved
  • 1987: NAMES project started by Mike Smith, Cleve Jones and others to form an AIDS Quilt with each panel representing a loved one who had died of AIDS. Spread out on the Washington Mall in October, 1987
  • 1990: Ryan White, a young AIDS activist who had contracted HIV from a needed blood transfusion for his hemophilia, died at the age of 17. In August of that year, the bipartisan Ryan White Care Act passed (150,000 cases, 100,000 deaths in U.S. to date), and Dr. Eric Goosby, MD from UCSF served as its founding director from 1991-95 in Washington, DC.
  • 1992: AIDS was the leading cause of death U.S. men ages 22-44; Peak of new infections in San Francisco (2,332 that year)

Since the beginning of the epidemic, many UCSF researchers and clinicians have stepped up to combat HIV/AIDS through innovative clinical care, education and research initiatives. Some of these efforts are detailed in the timeline here but we cannot possibly pay testament in a single email to all of your contributions over these many years. We want to acknowledge the many contributions from UCSF and our affiliates, in particular, the following:

  • UCSF
    • School of Medicine
      • San Francisco VA Medical Center (with HIV Clinic)
      • Zuckerberg San Francisco General (with Ward 86 HIV Clinic)
      • UCSF Health at Parnassus (360 Clinic UCSF, Men of Color Program, Women’s HIV Program, etc.)
      • Department of Medicine
        • Division of HIV, ID, and Global Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital
        • Division of Infectious Diseases at the VA Medical Center
        • Division of Infectious Diseases at Parnassus
        • Division of Experimental Medicine
        • Division of Prevention Science
        • Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
        • Divisions of Cardiology
        • Divisions of Endocrinology
        • Divisions of Gastroenterology
        • Divisions of Hematology and Oncology
        • Divisions of Geriatrics
      • AIDS Research Institute
      • Department of Dermatology
      • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
      • Department of Family Medicine
      • Department of Laboratory Medicine
      • Department of Neurology
      • Department of OB/GYN
      • Department of Pathology
      • Department of Pediatrics
      • Department of Psychiatry
      • Department of Radiology
      • Department of Surgery
        • Division of Transplantation Surgery
        • Divisions of General Surgery
    • School of Nursing
      • Department of Community Health Systems
      • Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences
    • School of Dentistry
      • Department of Orofacial Sciences
    • School of Pharmacy
      • Department of Clinical Pharmacy
      • Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
      • Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
    • Institute for Global Health Sciences
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Gladstone Institutes
  • Vitalant Research Institute
  • California HIV/AIDS Research Program

We are grateful to help lead the amazing CFAR and ARI who have always been focused on cutting edge research for HIV and who – together with all of you – will help to end AIDS.


CFAR Leadership:
Monica Gandhi*, Peter Hunt*, Mallory Johnson & Lauren Sterling

ARI Leadership Committee:
Diane Havlir, Susan Buchbinder, Carol Dawson-Rose, Steve Deeks, Marguerita Lightfoot, Melanie Ott, Rachel Rutishauser (*Also on ARI Leadership Committee)

timeline of UCSF's major contributions to AIDS