Genetic Sequencing Confirms Geographical Origin
In order to determine this, the scientists compared the genetic diversity of viruses found in the Congo Basin, including the DRC and Cameroon. What they were able to determine was that, using the genetic clues and historical data, the outbreak did not start in Cameroon as previously thought, but was a result of the spread of the virus between Kinshasa and Cameroon as a result of river trade.
The investigators ultimately confirmed that the virus found in Kinshasa exhibited more HIV-1 genetic diversity than anywhere elseresulting from the spread of the rapidly mutating virus from person to personas well as the oldest known HIV-1 genetic sequences.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, rapid urbanization and the development of railways made Kinshasa a transport capital, thereby allowing the spread of HIV-1 throughout the country and soon after to East and Southern Africa. The genetic footprint left during this period illustrated dissemination of the virus throughout the DRC as people traveled on railways and along waterways to the cities of Mbuji-Mayi and Lubumbashi in the south and Kisangani in the north.
Between the 1950s and 1960s, the use of unsterilized hypodermic needles in sexually transmissible diseases clinics and the growth of commercial sex trade were among the factors for the rapid spread of the viruses, particularly in mining communities where there was a high migratory workforce.
How Confident Can We Be That Hiv Crossed Into Humans Before The 1950s
In the view of Paul Sharp of Nottingham University, the available evidence from phylogenetic studies shows close agreement using different methodologies. Presentations yesterday by Betty Korber of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the USA and Anne-Mieke Vandamme of the Rega Institute in Belgium both dated the last common ancestor for all HIV group M sub-types at around 1930, and if this ancestor was a human immunodeficiency virus, this would be the very latest date at which transfer might have occurred. The Rega Institute group estimate the transfer could have occurred anywhere between 1590 and 1760, with 1675 the most likely date.
A tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem. The purpose of a research study is to test whether the hypothesis is true or not.
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.”
You May Like: Does Cookie Johnson Have Hiv Aids
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.
Did Hiv Come From Monkeys
In 1999, researchers found a strain of SIV in a chimpanzee that was almost identical to HIV in humans.
The researchers who discovered this connection concluded that it proved chimpanzees were the source of HIV-1, and that the virus had at some point crossed species from chimps to humans.3
The same scientists then conducted more research into how SIV could have developed in the chimps. They discovered that the chimps had hunted and eaten two smaller species of monkeys . These smaller monkeys infected the chimps with two different strains of SIV.
The two different SIV strains then joined together to form a third virus that could be passed on to other chimps. This is the strain that can also infect humans.4
Don’t Miss: Do Nba Youngboy Have Herpes
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.
Why Do We Care Does All This Research Into How The Virus Got Started Tell Us Anything About How To Stop It
Hunting chimps in West Central Africa.
Research into the HIV’s origins may eventually yield practical results. It could help scientists understand why HIV’s viral ancestor, SIV, doesn’t kill or even sicken chimps who carry it. With that knowledge, researchers might be able to make drugs with fewer side effects, or broad-spectrum vaccines that protect against all the strains of the disease that infect people today.
Korber suggests that in an era of emerging diseases, looking back on the virus’ shadowy origins offers a “history lesson,” or perhaps even a fable, with a moral attached. By the time doctors realized that HIV/AIDS existed, it had already taken up permanent residence in humans. They couldn’t have known about it before then, but, Korber says, at least now they know to be wary as the virus continues its shape-shifting spread around the globe. “The fact that it could be with us for quite a long time before we even realized it was there is kind of eye-opening,” she says. “I think it’s something to keep us on our toes. It helps us understand that we can be surprised.” And of course, HIV research may have a few surprises left for us, too.
Read Also: How Long Does It Take For Hiv To Become Aids
Scientists Refute Theory About The Origin Of Hiv
The HIV virus, and the epidemic of AIDS it has unleashed in the world in the last two decades, has prompted a strenuous scientific effort at stopping the organism and treating the devastating disease that results. But it has also been the source of speculation about the history of the virus itself: Where did it come from? How did it come to reside in humans? And what happened to transform it from a relative innocuous organism into a worldwide killer?
The spectacular nature of the epidemic has prompted some to suggest that the virus could not have naturally become so deadly without some human intervention — some tragic mistake that lifted it out of benign obscurity.
One such provocative theory has suggested that the HIV virus, originally residing in chimpanzees, was accidentally transferred to humans in the late 1950s during a polio vaccine campaign in Africa. According to the theory, first put forward by a journalist named Edward Hooper, public health workers may have used infected cells from chimpanzee kidneys to culture the polio virus when millions of people were vaccinated during the worldwide campaign to eradicate that disease — so the theory assumes — the virus began its insidious spread in the human race.
Edward C. Holmes, PhD, author of one of the reports, says the new research shows that the spread of HIV virus occurred naturally the way any organism does, and not through human error.
Pop Culture Opens Up Conversations
In 1985, actor Rock Hudson became the first major public figure to announce he had AIDS. Before he died that same year, he donated $250,000 to help establish the organization later known as amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. Friend and actress Elizabeth Taylor was the national chairperson until her death in 2011.
In 1987, Princess Diana also made international headlines after she shook hands with an HIV-positive man.
Pop culture icon Freddie Mercury, singer for the band Queen, passed away from AIDS-related illness in 1991. Since then, many other public figures have revealed that theyre HIV-positive, including:
- tennis star Arthur Ashe
- former basketball star and entrepreneur Magic Johnson
- Pedro Zamora, a cast member on MTVs The Real World: San Francisco
- actor Charlie Sheen, who announced his status on national television in 2015
- hairstylist and television personality Jonathan Van Ness
- actor and singer Billy Porter
You May Like: How Long Does It Take For Hiv To Become Aids
A Timeline Of Hiv And Aids
The HIV.gov Timeline reflects the history of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic from the first reported cases in 1981 to the presentwhere advances in HIV prevention, care, and treatment offer hope for a long, healthy life to people who are living with, or at risk for, HIV and AIDS.
View a timeline of the current Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. Please visit HIVHistory.org for a timeline of the global and domestic response to the HIV epidemic.
A Single Person Brought Aids To America
Geneticists have traced the arrival of AIDS in America to a single person who came from Haiti in 1969.
In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, University of Arizona researchers analyzed archived blood samples from the first five U.S. AIDS patients. All were recent Haitian immigrants. The geneticists then looked at genetic sequences from another 117 people with HIV subtype B, the most common strain of the virus.
After assembling the sequences, the researchers modeled the probability of various HIV family trees. Did the virus go from Africa to the United States? The chance of that, they found, was just .003 percent. Did it go from Africa to Haiti and then to the U.S.? The chance of that was 99.8 percent — within the scope of the model, a near certainty.
They found that Haiti, which contains more HIV strains than any other country, likely served as a breeding ground for the disease between1966 and 1969, at which point a single person carried it to the UnitedStates. From there, the rest is tragic history.
The findings won’t directly produce cures or treatments. They might, however, give insight into how the disease evolved and spread — and that, in turn, could guide research. The next step: tracing the disease back from Haiti to central Africa, where researchers believe it was acquired by visiting Haitian workers.
You May Like: Can You Get Aids From Dried Blood
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.
Did Hiv Start In Africa
Using the earliest known sample of HIV, scientists have been able to create a ‘family-tree’ ancestry of HIV transmission, allowing them to discover where HIV started.
Their studies concluded that the first transmission of SIV to HIV in humans took place around 1920 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo .10
The same area is known for having the most genetic diversity in HIV strains in the world, reflecting the number of different times SIV was passed to humans. Many of the first cases of AIDS were recorded there too.
Don’t Miss: How Long Does Hiv Stay Dormant
How Does Hiv Spread
HIV spreads when infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids enter the body. Because symptoms can be mild at first, people with HIV might not know they’re infected. They can spread HIV to others without knowing it.
HIV can spread:
- during sex
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV does not spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
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 pandemic’s origin, the team report in the journal Science.
They used archived samples of HIV’s 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.
Also Check: How Long Until Hiv Turns Into Aids
Hiv And Aids: An Origin Story
When HIV first began infecting humans in the 1970s, scientists were unaware of its existence. Now, more than 35 million people across the globe live with HIV/AIDS. The medical community, politicians and support organizations have made incredible progress in the fight against this formerly unknown and heavily stigmatized virus. Infection rates have fallen or stabilized in many countries across the world, but we have a long way to go.
We Know When What About How
There are a few different theories about how these viruses got into the population. The idea that humans copulated with primates and subsequently became infected tickles the fancy of some, but this idea is not taken seriously by experts in the field!
The simplest explanation is that humans came into contact with the blood or other secretions of infected primates which is perfectly plausible since, for example, sooty mangabeys were both kept as pets and slaughtered for bushmeat in West Africa, the same region that HIV-2 is most prevalent. It would be easy for infected bodily fluids to come into contact with broken skin during the butchering process.
Given the fact that medical resources are costly, it is plausible that during immunization programs in Africa, healthcare professionals would have , providing ample opportunity to spread infection through the population. This, coupled with an increase in international travel alongside sexual promiscuity and intravenous drug use, seems a logical explanation for the emergence of HIV.
Oral polio vaccine administration. Image credit: Julien Harneis, via Wikimedia Commons.
In sum, while it is difficult to definitively prove where HIV came from, we can make assertions based on the best available evidence. This evidence points to a simian origin, not the government. Everyone loves to hear about a good conspiracy theory, but it really does not add up here.
Also Check: Hiv From Semen