Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Costs & Benefits: 1978-1988 Costs & Benefits: 1968-1978 Costs & Benefits: 1978-1988 Costs & Benefits: 1989–2007


A new disease emerged in the early 1980s, and in 1982 American scientists and doctors named it acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). By 1984, they had demonstrated that it was caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Initially identified primarily among homosexuals, the disease was soon found among intravenous drug users, sex trade workers and blood donation recipients. As it seemed to be reaching epidemic proportions, HIV/AIDS provoked fear and stigmatization of its victims. Local health departments began to present safe sex campaigns, but found that using the gay community to transmit the message to potential sufferers was the most effective approach. Since each AIDS patient cost $150,000–$200,000 to treat and since much research was required to develop the drugs that have transformed this disease into a chronic illness, federal and provincial governments were pressured to find solutions. The provinces responded during the 1980s, but the federal government did not announce its National AIDS Strategy until 1990. The appearance and evolution of this disease demonstrated that the health care system’s focus on curative medicine had to be supplemented with support for disease prevention and health promotion.

Back to Timeline 1914 - 2007
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010