Despite elusive cure, AIDS diagnoses decline

Six months before World AIDS Day was observed for the first time, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics launched its HIV/AIDS clinic.

It was the summer of 1988, and the new clinic was expected to draw an initial cohort of about 20 patients. Instead, nearly 80 people sought care in the first few months, and by the end of the clinic’s first two years, it was treating some 200 patients.

The AIDS epidemic was in full swing in the U.S., with the number of reported cases of the disease doubling to 100,000 between 1987 and 1989. The UI clinic was the state’s first clinic to treat HIV infection and AIDS, and it remains the state’s largest such clinic, says director Jack Stapleton. He says a lot has changed since 1986, when he was recruited to campus in part to establish the clinic.

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