In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) launches The Global Program on AIDS to: raise awareness; formulate evidence-based policies; provide technical and financial support to countries; initiate relevant social, behavioral, and biomedical research; promote participation by nongovernmental organizations; and champion the rights of those living with HIV.
In March, the FDA approved the first antiretroviral drug, zidovudine (AZT), as treatment for HIV.
In August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) hold the first National Conference on HIV and Communities of Color in New York.
In October, the AIDS Memorial Quilt is displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The display features 1,920 4×8 panels and draws half a million visitors. Also in October, AIDS became the first illness debated in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
By December, 71,751 cases of AIDS had been reported to the WHO, with 47,022 of these in the USA. The WHO estimated that 5-10 million people were living with HIV worldwide.