A giant red ribbon hangs from the North Portico of the White House to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, 2013, in Washington.

HIV/AIDS is one of the deadliest communicable diseases of the modern era: it has killed more than thirty-five million people. While the U.S. government and international organizations now commit significant resources to preventing and treating HIV/AIDS, this was not always the case. This timeline traces the evolution of patient activism, scientific research, international attitudes, and public policy that eventually converged to create the coordinated international HIV/AIDS effort that exists today.

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