This weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS. Wired magazine’s Maryn McKenna, author of Beating Back the Devil, has posted excerpts of the harrowing origins and first victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US (parts 1, 2, 3).

All the findings pointed to the same conclusion: His immune system was not working the way it should.

There was no indication, though, why that should be so. He had not had cancer or chemotherapy. He had not had an organ transplant. He was not elderly — aging wears down the immune system — and he did not have an inherited immune deficiency, because children born with that condition seldom survived long, and certainly not to Michael’s age. There was no evidence that he had suffered any medical or environmental insults that would impair his immunity. His symptoms were treatable, but his underlying condition was unexplained.

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