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This announcement helped begin to dispel the stereotype, still widely held in the US and elsewhere, of HIV as a ‘gay’ disease.52 A couple of weeks later, Freddie Mercury, lead singer of rock group Queen, announced he had AIDS and died a day later. International AIDS Conference scheduled to be held in Boston, USA was moved to Amsterdam due to USA immigration rules on people living with HIV.54 Tennis star Arthur Ashe revealed he became infected with HIV as the result of a blood transfusion in 1983.55 In May, the FDA licensed a 10 minute testing kit which could be used by healthcare professionals to detect HIV-1.56 In March 1993, the USA Congress voted overwhelmingly to retain the ban on entry into the country for people living with HIV.57 The CDC added pulmonary tuberculosis, recurrent pneumonia and invasive cervical cancer to the list of AIDS indicators.58 Over 700,000 people were thought to have the virus in Asia and the Pacific.59 By the end of 1993, there were an estimated 2.5 million AIDS cases globally.60 In August 1994, the USA Public Health Service recommended the use of AZT to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV.61 In December, the FDA approved an oral HIV test - the first non-blood HIV test.

HIV was unknown and transmission was not accompanied by noticeable signs or symptoms.

While sporadic cases of AIDS were documented prior to 1970, available data suggests that the current epidemic started in the mid- to late 1970s.

S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed the first commercial blood test, ELISA, to detect antibodies to the virus.

Blood banks began to screen the USA blood supply.28 In April, the U. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted the first International AIDS Conference in Atlanta Georgia.29 Ryan White, a teenager from Indiana, USA who acquired AIDS through contaminated blood products used to treat his haemophilia was banned from school.30 On 2 October, the actor Rock Hudson dies from AIDS - the first high profile fatality.

It is widely believed that HIV originated in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo around 1920 when HIV crossed species from chimpanzees to humans.

Up until the 1980s, we do not know how many people were infected with HIV or developed AIDS.

On 8 April 1990, Ryan White died of an AIDS-related illness aged 18.46 In June, the 6th International AIDS Conference in San Francisco protested against the USA's immigration policy which stopped people with HIV from entering the country.

NGOs boycotted the conference.47 In July, the USA enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities including people living with HIV.48 In October, the FDA approved the use of zidovudine (AZT) to treat children with AIDS.49 By the end of 1990, over 307,000 AIDS cases had been officially reported with the actual number estimated to be closer to a million.

Once incorporated into clinical practice HAART brought about an immediate decline of between 60% and 80% in rates of AIDS-related deaths and hospitalisation in those countries which could afford it.62 By the end of the year, there were an estimated 4.7 million new HIV infections - 2.5 million in southeast Asia and 1.9 million in sub-Saharan Africa.63 In 1996, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) was established to advocate for global action on the epidemic and coordinate the response to HIV and AIDS across the UN.64 The 11th International AIDS Conference in Vancouver highlighted the effectiveness of HAART leading to a period of optimism.65 The FDA approved the first home testing kit; a viral load test to measure the level of HIV in the blood; the first non-nucleoside transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drug (nevirapine); and the first HIV urine test.66 New HIV outbreaks were detected in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, India, Vietnam, Cambodia and China among others.

By the end of 1996, the estimated number of people living with HIV was 23 million.67 In September 1997, the FDA approved Combivir, a combination of two antiretroviral drugs, taken as a single daily tablet, making it easier for people living with HIV to take their medication.68 UNAIDS estimated that 30 million people had HIV worldwide equating to 16,000 new infections a day.69 In 1999, the WHO announced that AIDS was the fourth biggest cause of death worldwide and number one killer in Africa.

Newly released figures also showed 64% of all new HIV diagnoses in Europe occurred in Russia.