Celebrities, regular folks—and marketers—put spotlight on #WorldAIDSDay

Rhianna, Prince Harry and Whoopi Goldberg joined forces with the LGBT community and others on social media to recall the early days of the disease. The message: The stigma must end.

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The adage “leave the past behind” took on special meaning during this year’s observance of #WorldAIDSDay.

To mark the Dec. 1 anniversary of the first-ever global health day in 1988, the theme “Not Retro, Just Wrong” was splashed across social media and news websites worldwide.

Many young people may not know—or recall—the early days of public fear and misinformation that surrounded AIDS.

ABC News framed the history this way:

It has been 35 years since researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported on a mysterious illness that was infecting and killing otherwise healthy young men.

The CDC report from 1981 was the first time that what we now know as AIDS was mentioned in medical literature.

In those early days, little was known about the disease. Today researchers understand a great deal about how HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, attacks the immune system and leads to AIDS. While treatment, prevention and education have saved many lives, researchers continue to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS and find a cure.

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