AIDS was officially recognized as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control in 1982.

HIV positive infant orphaned by AIDS.

AIDS, and the social fears that come with a new epidemic, swept across the country in the 1980s.

Most early AIDS victims were male homosexuals or intravenous drug users, prompting many conservatives to claim the illness was punishment for "sinful" lifestyles. Many who lived with AIDS became social outcasts.

Although people knew the disease was transmitted through sexual intercourse and sharing needles, there were unanswered questions about whether or not you could get AIDS through casual contact.

The death of actor Rock Hudson and artist Keith Haring raised awareness and dispelled some of the mass frenzy that had seized the country. Fear of those who were infected, however, lingered well into the 90s.