Why We're Here
AIDS was discovered in 1981. It was first thought to be a rare cancer found only in gay men. No one, not even the medical community, knew what this new disease was capable of doing. Infected individuals started dying shortly after their diagnosis. Many gay men were on high alert. People knew very little about the virus, and a silent fear lurked about the country. That all changed on July 25, 1985, when film legend, Rock Hudson, made a public announcement that he was dying from AIDS. Suddenly, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and AIDS were thrust into the worldwide spotlight.
In the early 1980's, scientists began developing medication for infected patients. Still, people were dying, as the effects of the medicines had not been proven. Soon, an AIDS epidemic swept the nation. All across the country, concerned activists were pooling their resources to provide support to community members, regardless of their health status. Any message about preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS was intialized early on from a grassroots level since not enough was known about the illness for President Reagan to address the nation at the time.
Since that time, nearly thirty years after HIV was first discovered, millions of people worldwide have been infected by the disease. It is not a "gay disease". Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, race, sex, age, or ethnicity can be impacted by HIV. Although advancements in technology have developed medicines necessary for people living with HIV/AIDS to live longer, productive lives, there is still no cure. Organizations like EFA exist for the purpose of educating and supporting our community in the face of this very real disease.