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Houston-based gay magazine This Week in Texas shows warning of signs of AIDS

1978

The Montrose Clinic (now Legacy Community Health Services) opens as an STD clinic for gay men.

1981

The first person in Houston is diagnosed with AIDS, then called GRID—Gay Related Immune Deficiency. Seven other diagnoses are made, mostly in white, gay men; only two survive through the end of the year.

1982

The CDC introduces the term AIDS—Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Houston hospitals require visitors and staff to wear protective gear.

1984

Sister Kathleen Foster opens Casa de Esperanza de los Niños, a residential care facility for children with AIDS, or those whose parents have AIDS and can’t care for them.

1985

A blood test becomes available to test people for HIV. More local gay men are impacted; many have dark spots on their face and body, attributed to a cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma that is common among those with AIDS. Mac McAdory, a bartender at Montrose institution Mary’s, starts a support group at the bar for people with Kaposi’s sarcoma.

1985

Board members of Montrose Clinic and Montrose Counseling Center establish AIDS Foundation Houston. The foundation provides services including a food pantry called Stone Soup and a 10-bed Montrose residence for people with AIDS, McAdory House.

1985

AIDS Interfaith Council, which organizes groups of churchgoers to care for people living with—and dying from—the disease, forms.

1985

A referendum prohibiting the city from discriminating against gay and lesbian people is defeated by an overwhelming margin, with the opposition relying on the fear of AIDS in its counter-campaign.

1986

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses rules that the virus itself should be referred to as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which can progress into AIDS.

1986

Carolyn Farb raises $100,000 at a fundraiser for people living with AIDS.

1986

Tori Williams starts Pet Patrol both to care for AIDS patients’ pets while they receive treatment, and to find homes for them once their owners pass away.

1987

The Institute for Immunological Disorders, operated by a privately owned hospital in conjunction with MD Anderson, opens in Houston, becoming the first hospital in the country dedicated to treating AIDS. It closes the next year amid financial trouble.

1987

The drug AZT, an antiretroviral medication that treats HIV, is approved by the FDA; it costs $10,000 a year, making it the most expensive drug in history.

1989

Montrose Clinic becomes one of the American Foundation for AIDS Research’s 12 test sites, allowing greater access to experimental drugs.

1989

Harris County Hospital District opens Thomas Street Clinic, a publicly funded outpatient clinic for those with HIV/AIDS.

1990

George H.W. Bush signs the Ryan White CARE Act—named for a young hemophiliac who contracted HIV after a blood transfusion and later died—into law, providing funds to counties around the nation. The Houston area receives $3.7 million the following year.

1991

U.S. cases reach 1 million. AIDS becomes the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25–44.

1996

Retroviral drugs are introduced, drastically improving the outlook for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. The death rate starts to decline. It becomes clear that minorities, especially African Americans, are becoming disproportionately affected by HIV.

Source: Ryan White Planning Council

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