7. The hospital played a major role in combating the AIDS Crisis
Bellevue Hospital was one of the key players in the fight against the AIDS Crisis in the 1980s. In 1981, Bellevue reported one of the first three cases of HIV/AIDS, which at the time was an unexplained immunodeficiency. Over the next few years, the hospital worked to identify the disease and pioneer treatments. In 1985, Bellevue opened the country’s first hospital-based HIV nutrition program. That year, Coler Memorial Hospital led the country in allocating long-term care beds to people with AIDS, while Jacobi opened Kroc Day Care Center for Children with HIV.
The following year, HHC hospitals including Bellevue opened clinics for AZT, the first antiretroviral drug. By 1990, throughout HHC’s 11 hospitals, 1,100 new AIDS patients were admitted daily. In 1997, after years of treating HIV/AIDS patients, Bellevue participated in an NIH clinical trial examining the use of antiretroviral drugs in children and infants with HIV. The hospital further participated in trials for Nevirapine, given to HIV-positive pregnant women, and for combination drug therapies. Bellevue played a key role in developing HAART, or the “Triple Drug Cocktail,” to treat the disease.