The first published article related to AIDS was in 1981. The principal author’s name was Michael Gottlieb and it appeared in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for June 5th. This article reported that there was a random increase in pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), a rare lung infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noticed it when a drug technician named Sandra Ford noticed that there was an unusually high number of requests for the drug that treated PCP.
"A doctor was treating a gay man in his 20s who had pneumonia. Two weeks later, he called to ask for a refill of a rare drug that I handled. This was unusual - nobody ever asked for a refill. Patients usually were cured in one 10-day treatment or they died."-Sandra Ford for Newsweek
A short while later, on July 3rd, another article reported eight outbreaks of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) in young homosexual males in New York. This was surprising because Kaposi’s Sarcoma was a rare form of cancer that normally showed up in older people. At this time, the medical community realized that a new disease was probably heading their way.
In 1982, the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is used for the first time. The name was designated by the CDC. That year there were 1600 people diagnosed with the disease and almost seven hundred deaths. The CDC task force on KSOI had traced forty patients suffering from KSOI to a single person, called Patient Zero. Because of this, they realized that the disease was sexually transmitted. The disease also showed up in IV drug users and hemophiliacs. The first case of heterosexual transmission was diagnosed in 1983. “The doctors thought 'AIDS' suitable because people acquired the condition rather than inherited it, because it resulted in a deficiency within the immune system, and because it was a syndrome, with a number of manifestations, rather than a single disease.”
Although AIDS had a name, no one knew what the causes and tests for AIDS were. The race was on to discover what caused AIDS. In 1983, French scientists at the Institute Pasteur found a new virus that they called lymphadenopathy-associated virus or LAV. About a year later, Dr. Robert Gallo, of the National Cancer institute discovered HLTV-III. The first discovery was made in France at the Institute Pasteur, but shared credit is given to Dr. Robert Gallo, the discoverer of AIDS and his French counterparts for discovering HIV on April 23, 1984. In 1985, doctors came up with a test to identify who had AIDS and which donated blood had the AIDS virus. At this time, scientists knew that not only homosexuals got it, but also anyone exposed to the virus from blood or body fluids could get it too, including newborn babies and children.