Whenever Vivian Davis feels like doing something, she does it. So when she felt like joining the Peace Corps, she did - at age 78.
It wasn't that long ago - 1987, to be precise - that U.S. Surgeon General Everett Koop predicted the HIV/AIDS epidemic would kill 100 million people by the year 2000. That didn't happen. Instead, about 34 million people are living with HIV, according to AVERT, an international health organization, and a 2006 study published in the British medical journal QJM found that patients who are diagnosed as HIV-positive before developing full-blown AIDS now have an average life expectancy of 21.5 years. Once, the public faces of HIV were dead movie stars, artists and musicians; today, it's pro basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who by all accounts is still in excellent health, two decades after his diagnosis.
In 1987, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was started to memorialize Americans who died of AIDS. Portions of the quilt's now 48,000 panels--hand sewn by family and friends of those lost to the disease-will be displayed throughout Washington, D.C. during the month of July.
30 years ago, four letters equaled a death sentence. AIDS was shrouded in mystery. Was it contagious by breathing the same air as an infected person? By touching them? Kissing them?
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