The Meaning of Life (1914) & AIDS (1981-1982)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Jan 9 03:53:12 UTC 2002

Shilts credits the coining of the acronym to a 27 July 1982 meeting between
various government agencies (including the CDC), the Red Cross and other
blood industry representatives, and various gay community groups. (And The
Band Played On, Penguin, p. 171)

Prior to this, the term most often used was GRID, standing for Gay-Related
Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Given the outbreak among hemophiliacs and those
other than gay men, this older term was no longer deemed accurate.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 3:55 AM
Subject: Re: The Meaning of Life (1914) & AIDS (1981-1982)

At 7:03 PM -0500 1/8/02, Fred Shapiro wrote:
>On Mon, 7 Jan 2002 Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>>     I checked "AIDS" in OED, and the first citation is 24 September 1982.
>>  This seems late.
>Nexis has a slightly earlier citation (New York Times, 8 Aug. 1982).
>Fred Shapiro
That article makes it clear that the term must have already been well
established by 8 Aug. '82, with its references to the A.I.D.S.
Project (note the dots still used; the acronym hadn't yet become
AIDS) at the Center for Disease Control.  Perhaps the chronicles of
the disease (Randy Shilts's _And the Band Played On_, or one of the
more scholarly books) would have earlier cites, and a history of how
the term evolved.


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