In May 1990, a man weeps in front of a makeshift memorial to AIDS victims during the a candlelight memorial in San Francisco to remember those who died of the disease and those still fighting it. | AP
Updated: August 3, 2011 4:10PM
June 5, 1981 — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control publishes the first mention of what’s later determined to be a new infectious disease primarily affecting gay men.
1982 — The term AIDS is formally established by the CDC. Until now, the disease has been widely known as “gay-related immune deficiency” or “gay cancer.”
1985 — The federal Food and Drug Administration approves the first HIV test.
1986 — President Ronald Reagan first mentions the word AIDS.
1987 — The FDA approves AZT, the first antiretroviral drug for treating AIDS.
May 1988 — U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop sends a brochure about AIDS to every American household — the first and only mass mailing of its kind — in an effort to combat rampant misinformation about how the virus that causes the disease is transmittted.
September 1988 — Illinois becomes one of the first states to mandate premarital HIV testing. The law — which ends up being repealed a year later — causes the number of marriages in Illinois to plunge by 22 percent and creates a wedding boom in Kenosha, just across the Wisconsin border.
1990 — The federal Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act is enacted by Congress, with federal funding to establish state-based AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.
1994 — Illinois reports the state’s first year-to-year drop in the number of new AIDS cases.
1996 — The first AIDS drugs known as protease inhibitors are approved by the FDA, ushering in the era of AIDS “drug cocktails,” or highly active antiretroviral therapy.
2004 — Rapid HIV testing begins in labor-and-delivery units at hospitals across Illinois to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
2010 — The Obama administration launches the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the first coordinated plan for dealing with the epidemic.