Timeline

1981

1981

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports first cases of a rare form of pneumonia and little-seen cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, among previously healthy young gay men in New York City and Los Angeles.

The “New York Times” publishes the first article on the disease, “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” The term ‘gay related immune deficiency’ (GRID) is next used in media reports.

At year’s end, 159 cases of the new disease are reported in the United States.

1982

1982

Now termed AIDS, cases of the disease are also seen in hemophiliacs. Transmission via blood and sexual contact is suspected.

853 deaths due to AIDS related complications are reported in the U.S.

As this baffling scourge began to spread across the nation, mass hysteria took over radio and broadcast news.

Those suffering from this misunderstood disease were dealt with in ways that seemed cold-hearted — hospital workers would leave meals outside patient’s doors, postal workers refused to deliver their mail, and even friends and family would abandon those who were sick. Fear, confusion and prejudice reigned as this disease, eventually known as AIDS, grew from a mystery to an epidemic.

1983

1983

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Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Luc Montagnier of France’s Pasteur Institute independently identify the virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.

New cases of the disease are seen in heterosexuals, drug addicts, and people who received blood transfusions. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sends a warning to blood banks, noting a potential problem with blood for transmission.

The CDC adds female sex partners of men with AIDS to the list of risk groups, along with male homosexuals, intravenous drug users, Haitian origin and hemophiliacs.

Thirty-three countries around the world confirm cases of the disease.

AIDS Project Los Angeles (“APLA”) was founded in 1983 by four friends who recognized the urgent need for client services, prevention education aggressive efforts to influence public policy on behalf of those afflicted with the disease. Most media crews would not enter the APLA building and foundations refused to see or speak to their representatives. APLA soon became the chief spokes-group for HIV/AIDS awareness in Los Angeles.

Government worker burns her dress after touching an application from a person with AIDS.

1984

1984

Africa reports a major outbreak of the disease.

French philosopher Michel Foucault dies of AIDS.

First self care manual for people living with AIDS is published.

At year’s end, AIDS has claimed 3,665 lives in the U.S.

1985

1985

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Elizabeth Taylor organizes and hosts the first AIDS fundraiser to benefit APLA’s “Commitment to Life” event. By mobilizing entertainment’s biggest names of the time such as Burt Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Shirley Maclaine, Burt Lancaster, Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper, Ms. Taylor ensured that “Commitment to Life” would be a major success raising $1.3 million. While planning the event, Elizabeth learns her friend and co-star, Rock Hudson, is dying of the disease.

An HIV antibody test is licensed and screening of the U.S. blood supply begins.

The First International Conference on AIDS is held in Atlanta.

Ryan White, a 13-year-old hemophiliac with AIDS, is barred from attending school.

15,500 cases of AIDS are reported to date, with 12,529 deaths, including Rock Hudson.

First AIDS Walk raises $670,000.

Housing for people with AIDS opens in Los Angeles.

First dental clinic for people with AIDS opens in Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles in1985, Rock Hudson’s doctor Michael Gottlieb and Ms. Taylor spearheaded the creation of the National AIDS Research Foundation.

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1986

1986

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Elizabeth Taylor testifies before Congress on behalf of the Ryan White bill to plead for a funding increase for emergency AIDS care in areas hardest hit by the epidemic.

Fundraising benefits are organized: The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) benefit, is held in New York City; in Arizona, the AIDS Foundation Trust honors Elizabeth Taylor.

Elizabeth Taylor honored at the 2nd Commitment To Life benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles. (APLA).

Needle exchange programs are started in New York City.

Fashion designer Perry Ellis dies of AIDS.

At year’s end, 28,700 cases of AIDS have been reported.

1987

1987

The first anti-HIV drug, AZT, is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The most expensive drug in history, a one-year supply costs $10,000.

US ACTRESS TAYLOR IS PRESENTED FRANCE'S HIGHEST WARD LEGION D'HONNEUR BY FRENCH PRESIDENT MITTERRAND IN PARIS. US Actress Elizabeth Taylor is presented France's highest award the 'Legion d' Honneur' by French President Francois Mitterrand in recognition of her acting career. SCANNED FROM NEGATIVE. REUTERS/Pierre Schwartz

Elizabeth Taylor receives the French Legion of Honor Award for her work to raise funds and awareness to fight AIDS.

Entertainer Liberace dies of AIDS related complications.

Surgeon General C. Everett Koop calls for the widespread use of condoms and comprehensive sex education to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Musical theatre director Michael Bennett (“A Chorus Line”) dies of AIDS related complications.

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Elizabeth Taylor persuades President Ronald Reagan to finally acknowledge the HIV problem and for the first time he uses the term “AIDS” in a public speech. “There’s no reason for those who carry the AIDS virus to wear a scarlet ‘A,’” he said, as ACT UP protesters yelled outside.

Americans who have died from AIDS surpass 40,000.

Over 50,300 cases of AIDS are reported to date in the U.S.

“And the Band Played On,” a history of the AIDS epidemic by Randy Shilts, is published.

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Elizabeth Taylor and Mathilde Krim join amfAR board members at Art Against AIDS, a fundraiser that will become a nationwide effort to raise funds and awareness.

1988

1988

A travel ban is imposed on HIV-positive travelers entering the United States.

Total deaths due to AIDS in the U.S.: 61,800.

The Federal Government distributes the educational pamphlet, “Understanding AIDS,” by U.S. Surgeon General Everett Koop, to 107 million homes nationwide.

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1989

1989

Elizabeth Taylor speaks at Southeast Asia’s first AIDS benefit held in Thailand and visits AIDS patients at Chulalongkorn University Hospital in Bangkok, and attends the Masquerade Ball to benefit The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), NYC.

Steve Rubell, owner of New York City disco Studio 54, dies of AIDS.

Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe dies of AIDS.

Alvin Ailey, dancer and choreographer, dies of AIDS.

1990

1990

In South Africa, nearly 1% of the population is infected with HIV.

Artist Keith Haring dies of AIDS.

Elizabeth Taylor and Jeanne White testify before Congress to urge passage of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 1990.

Americans with Disabilities Act is passed, protecting people with disabilities and those with HIV/AIDS, from discrimination.In the U.S., 100,777 people have died of AIDS.

Ryan White dies of AIDS at age 18.

Ryan White People Magazine

1991

1991

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) is founded, created to provide critically-needed support services for people with HIV/AIDS and prevention education for populations most in need. The Foundation operates at zero overhead cost; Elizabeth Taylor personally underwrites all expenses for raising and administering the Foundation’s funds.

The Red Ribbon Campaign begins: At the Tony Awards, entertainers wear red ribbons to symbolize AIDS awareness, and the ribbon becomes forever identified with the epidemic.

Elizabeth Taylor continues to raise funds and awareness for AIDS, attending the London Lighthouse AIDS benefit, the Los Angeles Center for Living Fundraiser, Art Against AIDS in Basel, Switzerland, and the annual International AIDS Conference in Florence, Italy.

One million Americans are infected with HIV, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 
Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group QUEEN dies of AIDS. Elizabeth Taylor speaks at his tribute concert the following year sharing a message of prevention.

Basketball star Magic Johnson announces his HIV-positive status and retires from the NBA.

Ms. Taylor sold photos from her wedding to Larry Fortensky, which took place at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, to People magazine and outlets around the world for $1,000,000 and used that as the seed money to start The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

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1992

1992

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Elizabeth Taylor appears on the cover of “Vanity Fair” holding a condom. At the time, this photograph, shot by ETAF Ambassador Firooz Zahedi, was very controversial.

The first clinical trial of combination antiretroviral therapy begins.

Elizabeth Taylor attended a fundraiser for The Elton John AIDS

On October 11, 1992 Elton John held a concert to benefit The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation at Madison Square Garden. Bruce Hornsby, Lionel Richie, George Michael and Whoopi Goldberg each joined Elton to perform after his own set.

Author Isaac Asimov dies of AIDS.

The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) undertakes a comprehensive study of needle exchange programs.

Elizabeth Taylor continues to raise funds and awareness, attending the 8th International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam; the Glitter and Be Giving Gala in New York for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), and hosts the Cirque du Soleil Big Top for AIDS fundraiser in Santa Monica, California.

Actor Robert Reed (“The Brady Bunch”) dies of AIDS.

Actor Anthony Perkins (“Psycho”) dies of AIDS.

Elizabeth testifies again before Congress.

1993

1993

 
The Academy of Motion Pictures awards Elizabeth Taylor with The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work in fighting AIDS.

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The Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center is established at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, Washington, D.C. The Clinic provides HIV/AIDS testing and services without charge to the community.

Elizabeth Taylor continues her fundraising efforts with a benefit concert featuring Elton John at Madison Square Gardens, New York, and headlines the Cinema Against AIDS event at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Ryan White CARE Bill is passed.

Tennis player Arthur Ashe dies of AIDS.

Ballet star Rudolf Nureyev dies of AIDS.

194,475 people have died of AIDS in the United States.

1994

1994

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Elizabeth Glaser, AIDS activist and founder of The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, dies of AIDS.

Pedro Zamora, cast member of MTV’s reality series, “The Real World,” dies of AIDS.

Randy Shilts, author of “And the Band Played On,” a history of the AIDS epidemic, dies of AIDS.

1995

1995

The first protease inhibitor, saquinavir, is approved by the FDA, introducing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) treatment.

The “New York Times” reports that AIDS is the leading cause of death among all Americans aged 25-44.

Gold Medal Olympic diver Greg Louganis announces his HIV-positive status.

President Clinton establishes The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Rapper Eazy-E of the rap group N.W.A. dies of AIDS.

1996

1996

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Elizabeth Taylor attends Art Against AIDS, Venice, Italy; speaks at the XI International Conference on AIDS, Vancouver; and attends The American Foundation for AIDS.

Elizabeth addresses the crowds and participates in the Candlelight AIDS March in Washington, D.C.

In the fall, Elizabeth hosts the Macy’s Passport fundraiser, an annual event she will continue to headline in both San Francisco and Los Angeles in the years ahead.

The UN estimates that 22.6 million people worldwide are infected with HIV.

1997

1997

Elizabeth Taylor wins the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanitarian service.

The Elizabeth Taylor 65th birthday special is televised and raises over $1,000,000 for ETAF. Two days later, she has brain surgery to remove a tumor.

Madonna pays tribute to Elizabeth Taylor on her 65th Birthday special on ABC.

1998

1998

Elizabeth Taylor headlines fundraisers that include AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) Ten-Year Commitment to Life Gala; Dream Halloween Benefitting Children Affected by AIDS Foundation (CAAF); and amfAR’s Unforgettable Fashion of the Oscars Benefit.

Funds raised by The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation are directed to domestic and international AIDS service organizations, including service groups in Africa and India.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) forms in South Africa, a grassroots movement to push for access to treatment.

The Minority AIDS Initiative is created in the United States.688,200 cases of AIDS are reported in the U.S. to date, and 410,800 deaths.

1999

1999

Elizabeth Taylor receives BAFTA’s British Academy Fellowship for lifetime achievement in film, but explains to the audience that “fighting AIDS has become my full time job.”

Experts estimate that half of all new HIV infections occur among people under age 25.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of the global epidemic; 55% of all HIV-positive adults are women.

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2000

2000

13th International AIDS Conference is held in South Africa, the first developing nation to host.

CDC forms Global AIDS Program to heighten awareness of the scope of the pandemic.

Elizabeth Taylor raises funds and awareness at The Red Hot AIDS fundraiser, London; Honoring with Pride: An Evening on Ellis Island; Cinema Against AIDS Gala — Cannes Film Festival; and the 5th Annual Macy’s Passport event in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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Cindy Crawford, Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Magic Johnson co-host September 23, 2000 the Macy’s-American Express Passport 2000 benefit fashion show in Santa Monica, CA. The event is a fundraiser for AIDS/HIV research.

2000-2

Elizabeth Taylor with a talented dance group of Uganda orphans who performed at the Macy’s Passport event

 
Elizabeth accepts the Glaad Media Award and says that “When gay people stopped being human beings and started becoming the enemy, I knew somebody had to do something.”

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls for a global fund to fight AIDS during African Summit on HIV/AIDS in Abuja, Africa.

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2001

2001

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Elizabeth Taylor is awarded a Presidential Citizen’s Medal for her work against AIDS.

June 5 marks 20 years since the first AIDS case was reported.

Elizabeth Taylor’s fundraising activities include “The Concert… 20 Years With AIDS” starring Elton John — an APLA Benefit; Cinema Against AIDS Benefit, Venice; Cannes 2001: A Diamond Is Forever Benefit; Angel Awards 2001; Macy’s & American Express Passport ’01 — “20 Years of AIDS, 20 Years of Hope.”

2002

2002

UNAIDS reports that women comprise approximately half of all adults living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin dies of AIDS.

US National Intelligence Council releases report on the next wave of the epidemic, focusing on India, China, Russia, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

HIV is the leading cause of death worldwide among those aged 15-59.

Fashion photographer Herb Ritts dies of AIDS.

2003

2003

Elizabeth Taylor continues her fundraising efforts with appearances at the Cannes Film Festival’s “Giant” Screening Benefit Event; the Cinema Against AIDS Gala at the Cannes Film Festival; the Art for AIDS II Benefit, and Dream Halloween, to benefit the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.

In the United States, 930,000 cases of AIDS have been reported to date.

Fifteen million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

2005

2005

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This child survives and meets Elizabeth 15 years later at the UCLA Care Center event.

The Elizabeth Taylor Endowment Fund for the UCLA CARE Center (Clinical AIDS Research and Education) is established at the University of California Los Angeles.

The CDC reports that more than one million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS.

2006

2006

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation responds to Hurricane Katrina by funding a $500,000 mobile medical rescue van dispatched to patients in the New Orleans area.

2008

2008

December 1, 2008 marks the 20th anniversary observation of World AIDS Day.

Globally, over 33 million people are currently living with AIDS; 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.

ETAF teams up with the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) to develop mobile medical clinics in parts of rural Malawi.

2009

2009

President Obama announces that his administration will officially lift the HIV travel and immigration ban in January 2010 by removing the final regulatory barriers to entry.

2010

2010

The White House releases the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), the nation’s first ever comprehensive, coordinated HIV/AIDS roadmap with clear and measurable targets.

1% of all new infections occurred among people aged 25-34; 26% were 13-24 years old.

2011

2011

Elizabeth Taylor dies on March 23.

2010-1

AIDS Healthcare Foundation commissions billboards in Elizabeth Taylor’s honor after she passes.

CDC marks the 30th Anniversary of first reported cases of HIV/AIDS.

34 million people are living with HIV/AIDS globally with 7,000 new infections a day. 1.7 million people died from AIDS this year.

More than 20% of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States are women. The vast majority of newly diagnosed HIV-positive women contract the virus through heterosexual sex.

African Americans constituted 64% of women diagnosed with HIV/AIDS

2012

2012

The United States hosts the International AIDS Conference for the first time in over 20 years (it is the first conference to be held in the U.S. since the travel ban on HIV-positive visitors was lifted).

The Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award is created in Ms. Taylor’s honor. This Award recognizes the efforts of individuals who have achieved major breakthroughs or shown exceptional courage and leadership in their efforts to advocate for human rights in the field of HIV.

ETAF awards nearly $800,000 during the 2012 grant cycle to a diverse range of organizations dedicated to serving populations most affected by HIV/AIDS — ranging from mobile medical clinics in Malawi, to education and prevention programs in Lihue, HI, to meal support programs in New Orleans, LA.

62% of pregnant women living with HIV in low and middle-income countries receive effective drug regiments to prevent new HIV infections among children.

2013

2013

Women account for one in five new HIV diagnoses and deaths caused by AIDS. The proportion of AIDS diagnoses reported among women has more than tripled since 1985 and the majority of women have contracted the virus through heterosexual sex.

ETAF commits to grants in excess of $1,000,000.00.

ETAF hires its first Managing Director, Joel Goldman, to continue Elizabeth Taylor’s work and vision of caring for those affected by HIV/AIDS and to help elevate the conversation around prevention and testing. While dramatic improvements have been made, major challenges remain in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US and globally. Funding is flat to declining, while demand for services is increasing. New infections out-pace the ability to diagnose and treat.

Elizabeth Taylor’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren are working with ETAF as ambassadors.

To date ETAF has granted $17 million to more than 675 organizations in 44 countries and 42 states in the U.S.

2014

2014

Elizabeth Taylor’s granddaughter, Naomi Wilding, organizes an art auction in association with Wilding-Cran Gallery in Los Angeles on what would have been her grandmother’s 82nd birthday. The event, hosted by Collin Farrell, raises over $300,000 for ETAF.

Philanthropist and ETAF Ambassador Aileen Getty is honored with the inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Leadership Award at the Angel Awards in September. Originally founded to bring meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, Project Angel Food celebrate their 25th anniversary at the event.

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On World AIDS Day, ETAF premiers Still Fighting, a short film produced by Adam Shankman, and narrated by Colin Farrell. The film, which serves as a call to action to join the ongoing global fight against HIV/AIDS, includes music donated by Cold Play, Katy Perry, and One Republic.

ETAF testifies at the UNAIDS December meeting in Geneva, Switzerland appealing to world leaders to take drastic action to meet the goal of ending AIDS as a global health threat by 2030.

ETAF partners with the Elton John Foundation to co-fund HIV prevention programs for African American youth in the south.

2015

2015

ETAF partners with GLAAD and AIDS United to lean on the media and entertainment industry to include more HIV/AIDS stories in the news, as well as film and television. In 2014, ETAF Ambassador and actor Daniel Franzese’s character on the HBO series Looking, is the only HIV+ character on television. The organizations create a guide for reporting in a new era of HIV prevention and treatment. 

ETAF sponsors AIDSWatch, the annual advocacy event in Washington D.C. where constituents from all over the country meet with members of Congress to discuss the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS. Five of Elizabeth Taylor’s grandchildren present New York Congressman José Serrano with the Inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Legislative Leadership Award in recognition of his work supporting syringe exchange programs.