On June 5, 1981, a one-and-a-half page paper in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) noted cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five gay men in Los Angeles. The men also suffered from cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections and candidal infections of the mucosa,1 and they used recreational inhalant drugs. The editorial note pointed out: "Pneumocystis pneumonia in the United States is almost exclusively limited to severely immunosuppressed patients."

"I was sitting in my office in Building 10,2 going through my usual work and lab data, and I got that first issue ... and I thought this was really odd," recalls Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He recalls getting a "funny feeling" about it. "I don't like these unresolved things. Was this a bad batch of drugs? I never even imagined at that point that this was a...

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