Throughout 1982, the number of cases of AIDS had been rising steadily, the gay community being affected the most.
In the third quarter of 1982, only 15 AIDS stories appeared in the nation's leading newspapers and news magazines.
The number jumped to 30 in December, following two reports from the Centers for Disease Control.
On December 9, the CDC announced that a child diagnosed with AIDS had received a blood transfusion from an adult victim
On December 17, its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report detailed several instances of "Unexplained Immunodeficiency and Opportunistic Infections in Infants—New York, New Jersey, California"; the babies had all been born to IV (intravenous) drug users.
It was finally stated on May 24 by the Department of Health and Human Services that AIDS had become the federal government's top medical priority.
Given the syndrome's virulence in breaking down the body's immune system, most doctors believed their work would not be easy and finding a treatment could take years.
The fear in panic grew in everyone; those with and without AIDS.
The diagnosis of AIDS was considered to be a death sentence.
AIDS cases had risen to 3,064; of these, 1,292 had died.
The decade's major distinctive health issue, AIDS, was also the most devastating: By June 1989 nearly 106,000 cases had been reported, of which 61,000 had died.
As treatments improved, so did public acceptance of the disease—and, gradually, of homosexuality, although gays still suffered prejudice from their initial unwilling association with the epidemic.