Spread To The Western Hemisphere
HIV-1 is believed to have arrived in Haiti from central Africa, possibly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo around 1967. The current consensus is that HIV was introduced to Haiti by an unknown individual or individuals who contracted it while working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo circa 1966. A mini-epidemic followed, and circa 1969, yet another unknown individual took HIV from Haiti to the United States. The vast majority of cases of AIDS outside sub-Saharan Africa can be traced back to that single patient. Later, numerous unrelated incidents of AIDS among Haitian immigrants to the U.S. were recorded in the early 1980s. Also, as evidenced by the case of Robert Rayford, isolated occurrences of this infection may have been emerging as early as 1966. The virus eventually entered gay male communities in large United States cities, where a combination of casual, multi-partner sexual activity and relatively high transmission rates associated with allowed it to spread explosively enough to finally be noticed.
The Aids Epidemic Arises
Though HIV arrived in the United States around 1970, it didnt come to the publics attention until the early 1980s.
In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report about five previously healthy homosexual men becoming infected with Pneumocystis pneumonia, which is caused by the normally harmless fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii. This type of pneumonia, the CDC noted, almost never affects people with uncompromised immune systems.
The following year, The New York Times published an alarming article about the new immune system disorder, which, by that time, had affected 335 people, killing 136 of them. Because the disease appeared to affect mostly homosexual men, officials initially called it gay-related immune deficiency, or GRID.
Though the CDC discovered all major routes of the diseases transmissionas well as that female partners of AIDS-positive men could be infectedin 1983, the public considered AIDS a gay disease. It was even called the gay plague for many years after.
In September of 1982, the CDC used the term AIDS to describe the disease for the first time. By the end of the year, AIDS cases were also reported in a number of European countries.
Groups And Subtypes Of Hiv
Genetic studies have led to a general classification system for HIV that is primarily based on the degree of similarity in viral gene sequence. The two major classes of HIV are HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is divided into three groups, known as group M , group O , and group N . Worldwide, HIV-1 group M causes the majority of HIV infections, and it is further subdivided into subtypes A through K, which differ in expression of viral genes, virulence, and mechanisms of transmission. In addition, some subtypes combine with one another to create recombinant subtypes. HIV-1 group M subtype B is the virus that spread from Africa to Haiti and eventually to the United States. Pandemic forms of subtype B are found in North and South America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Subtypes A, C, and D are found in sub-Saharan Africa, although subtypes A and C are also found in Asia and some other parts of the world. Most other subtypes of group M are generally located in specific regions of Africa, South America, or Central America.
In 2009 a new strain of HIV-1 was discovered in a woman from Cameroon. The virus was closely related to a strain of SIV found in wild gorillas. Researchers placed the new virus into its own group, HIV-1 group P, because it was unique from all other types of HIV-1. It was unclear whether the newly identified virus causes disease in humans.
Recommended Reading: Is Hiv Transmitted By Sweat
Hiv Originated With Monkeys Not Chimps Study Finds
Researchers have found new clues to the deadly disease’s origins.
Scientists now say that the simian immunodeficiency virus in chimpanzees , which is believed to have been transmitted to humans to become HIV-1the virus that causes AIDSdidn’t start its life in chimps.
Instead, it was a product of separate viruses jumping from different monkey species into chimps, where they recombined to form a hybrid virus, according to a new study.
Researchers believe the chimpanzee virus is a hybrid of the SIVs naturally infecting two different monkeys, the red-capped mangabey and the greater spot-nosed monkey . Chimps eat monkeys, which is likely how they acquired the monkey viruses. The hybrid virus then spread through the chimpanzee species, and was later transmitted to humans to become HIV-1.
The study suggests striking parallels between SIV infection of chimps and HIV infection of humans. Just as chimps acquired viruses from two different sources, humans are infected by two distinct AIDS viruses: HIV-1 and the less virulent HIV-2, which humans acquired from sooty mangabey monkeys.
“Because of the similarity between chimpanzees and humans, any virus that successfully adapts to spreading among chimps would be a candidate for a further jump to humansa potential HIV-3,” said Paul Sharp of the Institute of Genetics at University of Nottingham in England, who led the study.
Who Benefits From Preexposure Prophylaxis
People who may benefit from preexposure prophylaxis include anyone who:
- is in a relationship with an HIV-positive person who has a detectable viral load
- has sex with men and women
- regularly has sexual partners of unknown HIV status, especially if they inject drugs
- has contracted a sexually transmitted infection in the past 6 months
- has injected drugs, been in drug treatment, or shared needles in the past 6 months
Recommended Reading: How Do People Get Hiv
Is There Only One Type Of Hiv
No, there are actually two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2, and they have slightly different origins.
HIV-1 is closely related to the strain of SIV found in chimps. While HIV-2 is closely related to the strain of SIV found in sooty mangabeys monkeys. The crossover of HIV-2 to humans is believed to have happened in a similar way as HIV-1 .
HIV-2 is far more rare, and less infectious than HIV-1, so it infects far fewer people. It is mainly found in a few West African countries, such as Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
To complicate things further, HIV is also classified by four main groups of viral strain , each of which has different genetic make-up. HIV-1 Group M is the strain that has caused the majority of HIV infections in the world today, meaning it is the dominant strain.
Where Did Hiv Come From A Look At The Origins Of The Pandemic Of Our Time
A chimpanzees virus has killed 35 million humans.
That virus, commonly known as HIV, is the defining pandemic of our time. More than 35 million people have been killed by the virus to date. But the virus itself didnt get its start in humans.
HIV/AIDS is, like the vast majority of emerging viruses infecting people, zoonotic in nature. The AIDS crisis, as we generally think of it, began in the 1980s. First as a mysterious illness primarily infecting gay men in urban areas in the United States. But thats not really the beginning. Before the diseases first mention in 1982 in the New York Times, people had been dying of AIDS for at least a decade, though probably not much longer. In Africa, HIVthe virus that causes AIDShad jumped from chimpanzees to humans sometime early in the 20th century.
To date, the earliest known case of HIV-1 infection in human blood is from a sample taken in 1959 from a man whod died in Kinshasa in what was then the Belgian Congo.
Its this fact which keeps me awake at night. Imagine, for a moment, that the HIV virus in that 1959 sample had been studied and identified. If, in the 1950s, the scientific community realized the potential harm this new virus could unleash. What could we have done? What therapies could we have developed before it became one of the deadliest pandemics in human history? Would we have a cure by now?
That work takes several forms, including:
Don’t Miss: Can Someone On Prep Transmit Hiv
How The Aids Epidemic Really Began
In Randy Shilts history of AIDS, And the Band Played On, he tells the story of an Air Canada steward named Gaëtan Dugas, who suffered from what Dugas called gay cancer and infected 40 people or more with HIV.
He was, Shilts wrote, Patient Zero.
Dugas, through his extensive travels and unrepentant, unprotected sex even after he was diagnosed, undoubtedly helped spread AIDS. But was he the man who brought the disease to America?
In the new book The Chimp and the River: How AIDS Emerged from an African Rain Forest , author David Quammen says no.
Dugas himself was infected by some other human, presumably during a sexual encounter and not in Africa … somewhere closer to home, Quammen writes. As evidence now shows, HIV had already arrived in North America when Gaëtan Dugas was a virginal adolescent.
Using molecular genetics, researchers have now traced the exact strain of HIV that became a pandemic HIV-1, Group M, Subtype B to its original source.
Amazingly, through examination of genetic samples from humans and chimps, Quammen reveals scientists have found exactly when and where AIDS started even a probable theory as to how.
They are the first warnings of what is happening.
Where We Are Now: 2000
Since 2000, additional factors have begun contribute to the the global spread of HIV. Heroin addiction in Asia has been on the rise, which brought with it dirty needles and the risk of new infections. India suffered with over 2 million diagnoses alone, in spite of the government’s refusal to admit the epidemic had adversely affected the nation.
The WHO released its comprehensive report examining HIV and AIDS in all of its 25-year history in 2010. This report had good news for developed nations: by 2008, the U.S. domestic HIV infection rate was considered effectively stable, and has remained so to this day. The report also demonstrated that while insistent public awareness campaigns about safe sex and other methods of transmission had slowed the rate of HIV infection in developed countries, there was much to be done elsewhere.
Global Education and Aid Efforts
Under President Bush, the U.S. committed funds to help African countries, but the funds were mismanaged and the spread of HIV continued unabated. Of the 4.1 million cases in sub-Saharan Africa then, only 1% received the available drugs. This led to the WHO’s declaration of the failure to treat the 6 million AIDS patients living in developing nations as a global public health emergency.
HIV Denialism Disrupts Aid
Read Also: Hiv And Aids Are Curable Diseases
Impact Across The Country
- Although HIV has been reported in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. dependencies, the impact of the epidemic is not uniformly distributed.
- Ten states accounted for about two-thirds of HIV diagnoses among adults and adolescents in 2019 .31 Regionally, the South accounted for more than half of HIV diagnoses in 2019.32
- Rates of HIV diagnoses per 100,000 provide a different measure of the epidemicâs impact, since they reflect the concentration of diagnoses after accounting for differences in population size across states. The District of Columbia has the highest rate in the nation, compared to states, nearly 3 times the national rate and Georgia was the state with highest rate , twice that of the national rate.33,34 Nine of the top 10 states by rate are in the South.35
- New HIV diagnoses are concentrated primarily in large U.S. metropolitan areas , with Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta topping the list of the areas most heavily burdened.36
|Table 1: Top Ten States/Areas by Number and Rate of New HIV Diagnoses , 2019
|CDC. HIV Surveillance Report, Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2019 vol. 32. May 2021.
Stigma: Educating A Nation
The first year of the AIDS epidemic seemed isolated to a few individuals in a few cities, so it received little media attention. When cases were reported in infants and people with hemophilia, widespread panic struck Americans. Those with AIDS were often stigmatized. In 1985, Ryan White, a teenage hemophiliac living in Indiana, contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. Parents in his community feared he would expose their children to AIDS, resulting in Ryan being barred from attending school.
In 1986, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued the Surgeon Generals Report on AIDS. In it, he called for a comprehensive program of sex and AIDS education, urged the widespread use of condoms, and dispelled myths that HIV could be spread by mosquitoes. In 1987, CDC launched an unprecedented national campaign, America Responds to AIDS . The goal of ARTA was to increase awareness and understanding of AIDS, to prevent HIV infection, and to encourage people to seek more information and counseling. CDC also began a program to support HIV prevention efforts with national minority organizations that provided HIV prevention expertise to community-based organizations, developed HIV prevention programs targeting minorities, especially African Americans and Hispanics, and supported groups that used culturally sensitive AIDS prevention programs to address their communities needs.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Hiv Using Protection
Homeless People And Intravenous Drug Users In New York
A volunteer social worker called Betty Williams, a Quaker who worked with the homeless in New York from the seventies and early eighties onwards, has talked about people at that time whose death would be labelled as “junkie flu” or “the dwindles”. In an interview for the Act Up Oral History Project in 2008, she said: “Of course, the horror stories came, mainly concerning women who were injection-drug users … who had PCP pneumonia , and were told that they just had bronchitis.” She continues: “I actually believe that AIDS kind of existed among this group of people first, because if you look back, there was something called junkie pneumonia, there was something called the dwindles that addicts got, and I think this was another early AIDS population way too helpless to ever do anything for themselves on their own behalf.”
Julia Epstein writes in her book Altered Conditions: Disease, Medicine and Storytelling that: “As we uncover more of the early history of HIV infection, it becomes clear that by at least the 1970s the virus was already making major inroads into the immune systems of a number of diverse populations in the United States and had for some time been causing devastation in several countries in Africa.”
Why Do Scientists Look At Recent Samples Of Hiv To Determine The Virus’ Overall Age Wouldn’t It Be Better To Use Older Samples That Haven’t Had As Much Time To Mutate
It would, but scientists don’t have that luxury. Other than the 1959 sample, there are very few preserved specimens of HIV-infected tissue that predate the early ’80s, when the virus was first recognized by health authorities. Researchers still hope there are forgotten samples in African freezers. “There has to be some serum or plasma somewhere, and given modern technology we could fish out the virus,” says Dr. David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and one of the world’s leading authorities on HIV.
But even if those samples are found someday, they won’t necessarily yield definite answers about the virus’ age, says Korber: “Often, you can’t get anything out of samples like that.” Most African samples are made of blood serum, and serum samples contain viral RNA, which degrades much faster than the DNA found in tissue samples. In fact, says Ho, the 1959 sample, which was sequenced by his laboratory, was kept in a freezer but still didn’t survive the ravages of time. “It was completely dried up,” he says. “We were only able to get small pieces , and we had to stitch them together.”
Don’t Miss: What Part Of The Body Does Hiv Affect
Aids: Origin Of Pandemic Was 1920s Kinshasa
Health editor, BBC News website
The origin of the Aids pandemic has been traced to the 1920s in the city of Kinshasa, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, scientists say.
An international team of scientists say a perfect storm of population growth, sex and railways allowed HIV to spread.
A feat of viral archaeology was used to find the pandemics origin, the team report in the journal Science.
They used archived samples of HIVs genetic code to trace its source, with evidence pointing to 1920s Kinshasa.
Their report says a roaring sex trade, rapid population growth and unsterilised needles used in health clinics probably spread the virus.
Meanwhile Belgium-backed railways had one million people flowing through the city each year, taking the virus to neighbouring regions.
Experts said it was a fascinating insight into the start of the pandemic.
HIV came to global attention in the 1980s and has infected nearly 75 million people.
It has a much longer history in Africa, but where the pandemic started has remained the source of considerable debate.
You May Like: How Much Does Hiv Treatment Cost Per Year
Where Does Hiv Come From
HIV is thought to have occurred after people ate chimps that were carrying theSimian Immunodeficiency Virus .
HIV is a type of lentivirus, which means it attacks the immune system. SIV attacks the immune systems of monkeys and apes in a very similar way. This suggests HIV and SIV are closely related, and that SIV in monkeys and apes crossed over to humans to become HIV.
Recommended Reading: What Percentage Of Hiv Patients Are Gay