Perspectives on HIV/AIDS, 40 years after first cases were officially reported

University of Michigan

Man wearing red ribbon. Image credit: Anna Shvets, Pexels

Saturday, June 5, marks the 40th anniversary of the first official reported cases of what became known as AIDS. The University of Michigan has experts who can discuss.

Celeste M. Watkins-Hayes

Celeste M. Watkins-Hayes

Celeste Watkins-Hayes is a professor of public policy and sociology as well as associate dean for academic affairs at the Ford School of Public Policy. She works at the intersection of inequality, public policy and institutions, with a focus on urban poverty and race. Her most recent book, “Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Equality,” explores the experiences of women to inform policy.

“When HIV first came into public consciousness, it was understood to be a death sentence,” she said. “Now HIV is a chronic manageable illness, and we are talking about a potential end to the HIV epidemic. What accounts for this transformation 40 years in the making?

“My decades long research into the HIV epidemic tells me that it is critical to tell a comprehensive story of this massive shift, incorporating diverse voices who made enormous contributions over the years to fighting this epidemic. It is also important to understand the work that remains-confronting disparities, shoring up the resources needed to end the epidemic and never forgetting those who we lost.”

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