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HIV/AIDS Counselors and Case Managers


HIV is believed to have originated with a type of chimpanzee in West Africa. Scientists believe that a similar chimpanzee virus was transmitted to humans, most likely from hunting, and mutated into HIV. Over time, the virus has spread throughout Africa and the world. The earliest known case of HIV was found in a blood sample that was taken in 1959, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The virus has existed in the United States since at least 1977 or 1978. In 1979, doctors in Los Angeles and New York began to diagnose and report rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses not usually found in persons with healthy immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially named the condition AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in 1982. In 1984, the virus responsible for weakening the immune system was identified as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). In 1996, AIDS cases began to decline because of the development of new drugs.

The CDC also reports dramatic declines in the number of new HIV infections from a peak of about 130,000 in the mid-1980s to a low of roughly 39,000 in 2018. Today, the CDC estimates that about 1 million Americans are living with HIV. The professions of HIV/AIDS counselor and case manager developed in the mid-1980s as a division of social work.