On June 5, 1981, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first warning about a relatively rare form of pneumonia among a small group of young gay men in Los Angeles, which was later determined to be AIDS-related. Since that time, tens of millions of people have been infected with HIV worldwide.
- Eighty men gather in writer Larry Kramer’s apartment to address the “gay cancer” and to raise money for research. This informal meeting provides the foundation of what will soon become Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC).
- Nathan Fain, Larry Kramer, Larry Mass, Paul Popham, Paul Rapoport, and Edmund White officially establish GMHC.
- An answering machine in the home of GMHC volunteer Rodger McFarlane (who became GMHC’s first paid director) acts as the world’s first AIDS hotline — it receives over 100 calls the first night.
- GMHC produces and distributes 50,000 free copies of its first newsletter to doctors, hospitals, clinics, and the Library of Congress.
- GMHC opens its first office on West 22nd Street.
- GMHC creates the landmark Buddy program to assist PWAs (People with AIDS) with their day-to-day needs.
- GMHC funds litigation of the first AIDS discrimination suit by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.
- GMHC sponsored the first major fund-raising event for AIDS – a benefit performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
- GMHC publishes its first safer sex guidelines, “Healthy Sex is Great Sex.”
- GMHC’s art auction, held at Sotheby’s, is the world’s first million-dollar AIDS fundraiser.
- New York production of “The Normal Heart”, by playwright Larry Kramer, opens; first major play about the early days of the AIDS epidemic.
- GMHC holds the first AIDS Walk in New York; over 4,500 walkers raise $710,000.
- GMHC consolidates its array of programs in a new six-story headquarters on West 20th Street.
- GMHC services are consolidated in the Tisch Building on West 24 Street, and GMHC’s David Geffen Center for HIV Prevention and Education begins providing onsite HIV testing and counseling services.
- GMHC launces the “Beyond 200 Sexual Health Survey” in New York City, the largest survey of gay and bisexual men since the beginning of the epidemic.
- GMHC study published in Newsday reports an estimated 69,000 people in New York State have HIV but remain unaware of it.
- The GMHC AIDS Hotline becomes accessible via email.
- AIDS Walk New York, the world’s largest private AIDS fundraising event benefiting GMHC and other tri-state HIV/AIDS service organizations, marks its 20th year and raises a record $5.8 million.
- GMHC Action Center participants travel to Washington, Albany, and City Hall to speak directly with elected representatives as constituents and advocates.
- GMHC expands its mobile and on-site testing programs ensuring greater service in higher-risk neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.
- GMHC relocates to 446 West 33rd Street.
- GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie is named to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force, which then develops the final Blueprint to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York by 2020.
- GMHC launches the Terry Brenneis Hub for Long-Term Survivors, a program to support people who identify as long-term HIV survivors in their efforts to lead healthy and rewarding lives.
- ACRIA and GMHC release ground-breaking report on Research on Older Adults (RHOA 2.0) living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco.
- GMHC moves its offices to 307 West 38th Street in Manhattan.
- GMHC launches National Resource Center on HIV & Aging.
- GMHC partners with community-based organizations in Mississippi for the Southern Impact HIV Prevention initiative.
- GMHC responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing remote services to clients living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
- ACRIA and GMHC release RHOA 2.0 reports on “Older Adults Living with HIV” in New York State, New York City and Chicago.