1981 The US Centres for Disease Control identify a new infectious disease among gay men suffering from a rare form of pneumonia and skin cancer. Later identified as the first scientific report of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
1983 Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, identify a new retrovirus in a gay man suffering from Aids.
1987 AZT, the first antiviral drug to treat HIV, becomes available. UN launches global programme.
1991 Queen singer Freddie Mercury dies of Aids aged 45.
1992 The first experimental combination therapies are introduced, where patients are given two or more anti-retroviral drugs.
1998 HIV infection rates estimated to have doubled over three years in 27 countries.
2002 HIV/Aids is leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 59.
2007 Timothy Brown receives bone marrow transplant and is later declared "cured" of HIV.
2012 Barre-Sinoussi calls for "cure research" to eliminate HIV.