Treatment of HIV/AIDS has been impacted by social stigma. This impact has changed over time and varies from country to country.
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus was first reported on June 5, 1981 in the United States although the disease itself was probably first transmitted from non-human primates to people in Africa earlier in the twentieth century. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began to study this new disease, their attention was drawn to clusters of outbreaks among drug users and gay men in San Francisco. In popular media, soon after the disease was discovered, it was sometimes called GRID, which stood for gay-related immune deficiency. As is now known, blood transfusions, shared needles and unprotected anal intercourse are among the major routes of transmission of the disease. This meant that two out of the three major activities involved in transmission of AIDS were through activities highly stigmatized during the period in which it was discovered.
Homophobia has affected funding and treatment availability in many countries. In the United States, gay activism led to increased focus on treatment of AIDS, but without such activism it would have received far less funding and attention. In countries where homosexuality is illegal, many people are afraid to be tested for AIDS, making treatment difficult. Prejudices against sex workers and homosexuality, especially in Africa, have hindered the effectiveness of prevention programs. Even in the United States, "abstinence programs" often hinder the effectiveness of message teens about the necessity of using protection against STDs while engaging in sexual activity.