It's National HIV Testing Day: A Timeline Of The AIDs Epidemic

aids fight

While we've come an extremely long way, we still have a ways to go.

1987: President Reagan finally (and too late, to be honest) acknowledged the AIDS epidemic in public. Randy Shilts' book, And The Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic is published. In it he investigates the early days of the virus, from 1980-1985, as well as calling Reagan’s actions regarding the AIDS crisis "ritualistic silence."

1988: C. Everett Koop finished his research on AIDS. The eight-page document, "Understanding AIDS," was mailed to every household in the U.S. December 1st of that year becomes the first Worlds AIDS Day.

1990: Shortly after his death, the Ryan White Care Act is enacted as a means to provide "for those who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources for coping with HIV disease." In 2009, President Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.

1992: Drug therapy combos known as "cocktails," are introduced to help in slowing down the impending AIDS-resistant to drugs.

1996: Biomedical researcher Robert Gallo discovered that chemokine natural compounds can not only block HIV, but also stop the progression of AIDS.

1999: With support from the CDC, President Bill Clinton established the LIFE Initiative to help combat the spread of AIDS in Africa.

2000: Thanks to the U.S. Congress, the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act is enacted and authorized $600 million to be spent on U.S. global efforts to get a handle on the disease.

2007: Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco became the first person to be cured of HIV through a bone marrow transplant.

2010: On March 23, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act which includes "access to free HIV screening for many people. For those living with HIV/AIDS, the healthcare law will help to ensure they get the care and treatment they need." This is a major step as private insurance companies, historically, are less than agreeable when it come to HIV/AIDS patients.

2011: President Obama declared putting an end to AIDS a major goal during his presidency, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, addressed "Creating an AIDS-free Generation."

2013: "Functionally" cured of HIV becomes a reality thanks to antiretroviral therapy, but it's still not 100% guaranteed for all HIV-infected patients.

While we've come an extremely long way, both in scientific research and society's perception of HIV and AIDS, we still have a ways to go. Hillary Clinton's dream of creating an AIDS-free generation is lovely, and hopefully something will see in our lifetime, but it's going to take effort from everyone.

Science can only get us so far, and honestly, "functionally" cured just isn't good enough. We owe it to ourselves and those we love to not only always use a condom when we have sex, but get tested regularly for HIV. If you've yet to be tested and you're sexually active, today is your day to get on down to your closest HIV testing center, and make sure you have a clean bill of health.

Your body will thank you if it means keeping it in business.