UCLA AIDS Institute

From the earliest days of the AIDS pandemic, UCLA has been at the forefront of HIV research.

Lab worker testing samples in test tubes

About Us

In 1981, UCLA physicians reported the very first cases of what was described as “newly acquired immunodeficiency” — the disease entity we now know as AIDS. That discovery — and the subsequent exponential explosion of AIDS cases in Los Angeles, around the country, and around the world — led to the formation of the world-acclaimed UCLA AIDS Institute in 1992.

In early November of 2007 many members of the Institute were brought together in the new Biomedical Sciences Research Building, located on south campus. The open-plan labs were an apt physical reflection of the Institute’s approach to research—across disciplines and professional divisions to bring together experts, encouraging them to collaborate in developing novel approaches to preventing and treating HIV infection. Dr. Irvin S.Y. Chen was the founding Director of the UCLA AIDS Institute from its inception in 1991 to June 2023.

The AIDS Institute is now under the direction of infectious disease specialist, Dr. Otto Y. Yang, and continues to provide a unique, multidisciplinary environment for researchers who are assailing HIV from a dozen disciplines and directions. Institute members include faculty working in virology and immunology, genetics, cancer, neurology, ophthalmology, epidemiology, social science, public health, nursing, and disease prevention. Their studies are carried out in several locations on the UCLA Westwood campus, in addition to community settings, major medical centers in greater Los Angeles, and scores of international locations including India, China, Brazil, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Contact Us

For Patient Services, please call the CARE Center at 310-557-2273

For General Questions, please call 310-794-7209

AIDS Research

UCLA Leads the Way

From the earliest days of the AIDS pandemic, UCLA has been at the forefront of HIV research.

UCLA researchers were the first to:

  • Describe why early AIDS drugs failed
  • Report a case of HIV transmission through breast milk-in patient Ariel Glaser, daughter of Paul and Elizabeth Glaser
  • Demonstrate clearance of HIV from an infected infant
  • Identify, clone, and characterize HIV in the brain
  • Discover that some individuals are wholly or partially resistant to HIV infection
  • Report the epidemic of HIV infection among plasma donors in China
  • Show that the adult thymus can help rebuild an HIV-ravaged immune system
  • Develop an animal model for HIV, thereby enabling scientists to test new drug therapies.
  • Demonstrate the clinical activity of AZT (zidovudine) in HIV-positive patients
  • Devise treatments for patients who don't respond to standard multidrug HIV therapy
  • Reduce mother-to-child transmission rates by pioneering the use of the drug AZT in HIV-positive pregnant women
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of stem-cell gene therapy in HIV
World AIDS Day


World AIDS Day

This World AIDS Day, take a moment to consider that — in just a generation — AIDS has gone from being a terrifying epidemic to a manageable chronic condition. Since making the first identification of an AIDS case in the United States, UCLA has led the charge to prevent the transmission of this disease and care for those living with it.

This World AIDS Day, we invite you to stand with us in our commitment to making a difference. Your support will have a lasting impact on the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS. Together, we can create a future where HIV/AIDS is no longer a threat.

Your support at any level enables the institute to continue its mission to eradicate HIV/AIDS and improve the lives of countless individuals.

Contact Us

Rina Lee-Cha
UCLA AIDS Institute, 
615 Charles E Young Drive South 
Biomedical Sciences Research Building, 
Room 173

[email protected]

Jina Lee
Managing Director, UCLA-CDU CFAR 
Administrator, UCLA AIDS Institute 
615 Charles E Young Drive South
Biomedical Sciences Research Building, 
Room 173
Los Angeles, CA 90095

310-794-3955 FAX
[email protected]


Enrique Rivero
Media Relations Officer

UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations
924 Westwood Blvd., Suite 350
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7103
Phone: 310-794-2273310-794-0777
Fax: 310-794-2259
[email protected]

UCLA Health Sciences Development
10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 3132
Los Angeles, CA 90095
[email protected]