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7 Surprising Facts About HIV

A Commonly Misunderstood Disease

In the early 1980s in the United States, doctors began reporting deaths from unusual infections in patients whose immune systems had mysteriously failed. The discovery of the virus behind this public health crisis didn't come until 1983, making HIV/AIDS a relatively new illness—and one you might not know as much about as you think.

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Medically Reviewed By: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS | Last Review Date:

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Medical References

  1. HIV/AIDS 101: Symptoms.
  2. Where did HIV come from? The AIDS Institute.
  3. HIV Among African Americans. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  4. HIV Basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  5. Why People Still Won't Get Tested for HIV. Childress, Sarah. PBS Frontline.
  6. AIDS: the Early Years and CDC's Response. Curran, James W. and Harold W. Jaffe. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
  7. HIV/AIDS at 30: A Public Opinion Perspective. Kaiser Family Foundation.
  8. Sharp PM, et al. Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection of Chimpanzees. J Virol. 2005;79(7):3891-902.
  9. National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The White House Office of National AIDS Policy. July 2010.
  10. The top 10 causes of death. World Health Organization (WHO). July 2013.

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