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:
Activism By Aids Patients And Families
In New York City, Nathan Fain, Larry Kramer, Larry Mass, Paul Popham, Paul Rapoport, and Edmund White officially established the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982.
Also in 1982, Michael Callen and Richard Berkowitz published How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach. In this short work, they described ways gay men could be sexual and affectionate while dramatically reducing the risk of contracting or spreading HIV. Both authors were themselves gay men living with AIDS. This booklet was one of the first times men were advised to use condoms when having sexual relations with other men.
At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, there was very little information about the disease. Because AIDS affected stigmatized groups, such as LGBTQ people, people of low socioeconomic status, sex workers and addicts, there was also initially little mass media coverage when the epidemic started. However, with the rise of activist groups composed of people suffering from AIDS, either directly or through a loved one, more public attention was brought to the epidemic.
Samples Collected From Wildlife In Thailand
While its true that most emerging diseases affecting humans come from wildlife, its often human behavior that is to blame for the spillover. Humans are tearing down forests and hunting, eating, and selling wild animals at unprecedented rates. Each exotic animal shipped across the ocean to be sold as a pet is an sveacasino opportunity for a new pathogen to take root in a new continent. Each tree ripped from its roots increases interactions between humans and wild animals, and thus the odds that viruses will find new populations to infect.
But the good news is: If were the ones causing the problem, were the ones who can stop it.
At EcoHealth Alliance, were striving toward a world where pandemics like the one caused by HIV/AIDS are a thing of the past. Join us.
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Where Did Aids Come From
Scientists have traced the origin of HIV back to chimpanzees and simian immunodeficiency virus , an HIV-like virus that attacks the immune system of monkeys and apes.
In 1999, researchers identified a strain of chimpanzee SIV called SIVcpz, which was nearly identical to HIV. Chimps, the scientist later discovered, hunt and eat two smaller species of monkeysred-capped mangabeys and greater spot-nosed monkeysthat carry and infect the chimps with two strains of SIV. These two strains likely combined to form SIVcpz, which can spread between chimpanzees and humans.
SIVcpz likely jumped to humans when hunters in Africa ate infected chimps, or the chimps infected blood got into the cuts or wounds of hunters. Researchers believe the first transmission of SIV to HIV in humans that then led to the global pandemic occurred in 1920 in Kinshasa, the capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus spread may have spread from Kinshasa along infrastructure routes via migrants and the sex trade.
In the 1960s, HIV spread from Africa to Haiti and the Caribbean when Haitian professionals in the colonial Democratic Republic of Congo returned home. The virus then moved from the Caribbean to New York City around 1970 and then to San Francisco later in the decade.
International travel from the United States helped the virus spread across the rest of the globe.
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Spread To The Western Hemisphere
HIV-1 strains were once thought to have arrived in New York City from Haiti around 1971. It spread from New York City to San Francisco around 1976.
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.
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What Needs To Happen
The theme of this World AIDS Day Know Your Status is important. One in four people with HIV dont know that they have HIV. To bridge some critical gaps in the availability of HIV tests, WHO recommends the use of self-tests for HIV. WHO first recommended HIV self-testing in 2016, and now more than 50 countries have developed policies on self-testing. WHO, working with international organizations such as Unitaid and others, supported the largest HIV self-testing programmes in six countries in southern Africa. This programme is reaching people who have not tested themselves before, and is linking them to either treatment or prevention services. This World AIDS Day, WHO and the International Labour Organization will also announce new guidance to support companies and organizations to offer HIV self-tests in workplace. People with HIV often have other infections known as co-morbidities such as TB or hepatitis. One in three deaths in people with HIV is from TB. Around 5 million people are living with both HIV and viral hepatitis. One in three people with HIV has heart disease. This has meant that HIV care has long needed joined-up care, although this doesnt always happen in practice. WHO is now promoting person-centred health services to all people living with HIV, to meet their holistic health needs, not just their HIV infection linking HIV services with those for TB, sexual and reproductive health, non-communicable diseases and mental health, says Dr Hirnschall.
Origin And Distribution Of Sivgor
HIV-1 origins. The phylogenetic relationships of representative SIVcpz, HIV-1, and SIVgor strains are shown for a region of the viral pol gene . SIVcpz and SIVgor sequences are shown in black and green, respectively. The four groups of HIV-1, each of which represents an independent cross-species transmission, are shown in different colors. Black circles indicate the four branches where cross-species transmission-to-humans has occurred. White circles indicate two possible alternative branches on which chimpanzee-to-gorilla transmission occurred. Brackets at the right denote SIVcpz from P. t. troglodytes and P. t. schweinfurthii , respectively. The phylogenetic tree was estimated using maximum likelihood methods . The scale bar represents 0.05 nucleotide substitutions per site.
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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.
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.
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Challenges Of Virus Tracking
One of the primary challenges experts have in tracking a virus to the initial infection is that it may present as another infection. For example, when HIV first appeared in the U.S., doctors reported rare lung infections in a group of individuals.
Because of this, doctors may never identify cases as being due to HIV. People may have had HIV before these individuals, but received a diagnosis for another condition or did not seek medical attention.
Even then, if doctors determine that someone has HIV, it is challenging to identify who had the virus first because of the speed at which it spreads.
- the host of the virus
- how many introductions to humans there have been
- how it connects to previous events
- if there is evidence for local adaptation
In some cases, an emergent virus is a variation of an existing virus, such as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This knowledge allows for the rapid development of treatments and vaccines as experts already understand the mechanics of similar viruses.
Understanding the origin of a virus makes it possible to determine how it transmits from one animal or person to another. Not only does this help scientists develop treatments, but they can also work on methods to prevent its spread.
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.
Image via aids.gov. The WHO estimates that 97 percent of the world’s HIV positive population lives in low income nations where anti-viral treatments are scarce or unavailable.
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Origin Of Hiv And Aids
The origin of theHuman Immunodeficiency Virus has been a subject of scientific research and debate since the virus was identified in the 1980s. There is now a wealth of evidence on how, when and where HIV first began to cause illness in humans.
Find out more in our interactive timeline of the HIV epidemic.
Pathogenicity Of Siv In Non
In most non-human primate species, natural SIV infection does not cause a fatal disease . Comparison of the gene sequence of SIV with HIV should, therefore, provide information about the factors necessary to cause disease in humans. The factors that determine the virulence of HIV as compared to most SIVs are only now being elucidated. Non-human SIVs contain a nef gene that down-regulates CD3, CD4, and MHC class I expression most non-human SIVs, therefore, do not induce immunodeficiency the HIV-1nef gene, however, has lost its ability to down-regulate CD3, which results in the immune activation and apoptosis that is characteristic of chronic HIV infection.
In addition, a long-term survey of chimpanzees naturally infected with SIVcpz in Gombe National Park, Tanzania found that, contrary to the previous paradigm, chimpanzees with SIVcpz infection do experience an increased mortality, and also suffer from a human AIDS-like illness. SIV pathogenicity in wild animals could exist in other chimpanzee subspecies and other primate species as well, and stay unrecognized by lack of relevant long term studies.
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Natural History Of Sivcpz Infection
Initially, SIVcpz was thought to be harmless for its natural host. This was because none of the few captive apes that were naturally SIVcpz infected suffered from overt immunodeficiency, although in retrospect this conclusion was based on the immunological and virological analyses of only a single naturally infected chimpanzee . In addition, SIV-infected sooty mangabeys and African green monkeys showed no sign of disease despite high viral loads in blood and lymphatic tissues , leading to the belief that all naturally occurring SIV infections are nonpathogenic. However, the sporadic prevalence of SIVcpz, along with its more recent monkey origin, suggested that its natural history might differ from that of other primate lentiviruses. To address this, a prospective study was initiated in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, the only field site where SIVcpz infected chimpanzees are habituated and so can be observed in their natural habitat.
Definitions Of Hiv And Aids
The human immunodeficiency virus has infected tens of millions of people around the globe in the past three decades, with devastating results. In its advanced stageacquired immunodeficiency syndrome the infected individual has no protection from diseases that may not even threaten people who have healthy immune systems. While medical treatment can delay the onset of AIDS, no cure is available for HIV or AIDS.
The human immunodeficiency virus kills or impairs the cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the bodys ability to protect itself. Over time, a person with a deficient immune system may become vulnerable to common and even simple infections by disease-causing organisms such as bacteria or viruses. These infections can become life-threatening.
The term AIDS comes from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS refers to the most advanced stage of HIV infection. Medical treatment can delay the onset of AIDS, but HIV infection eventually results in a syndrome of symptoms, diseases, and infections. The diagnosis of AIDS requires evidence of HIV infection and the appearance of specific conditions or diseases beyond just the HIV infection. Only a licensed medical provider can make an AIDS diagnosis. A key concept is that all people diagnosed with AIDS have HIV, but an individual may be infected with HIV and not yet have AIDS.
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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
Origin And Epidemic Emergence
Several of the theories of HIV origin accept the established knowledge of the HIV/SIV phylogenetic relationships, and also accept that bushmeat practice was the most likely cause of the initial transfer to humans. All of them propose that the simultaneous epidemic emergences of four HIV groups in the late 19th-early 20th century, and the lack of previous known emergences, are explained by new factor that appeared in the relevant African regions in that timeframe. These new factor would have acted either to increase human exposures to SIV, to help it to adapt to the human organism by mutation , or to cause an initial burst of transmissions crossing an epidemiological threshold, and therefore increasing the probability of continued spread.
Genetic studies of the virus suggested in 2008 that the most recent common ancestor of the HIV-1 M group dates back to the Belgian Congo city of Léopoldville , circa 1910. Proponents of this dating link the HIV epidemic with the emergence of colonialism and growth of large colonial African cities, leading to social changes, including a higher degree of non-monogamous sexual activity, the spread of prostitution, and the concomitant high frequency of genital ulcer diseases in nascent colonial cities.
Social changes and urbanization
Colonialism in Africa
This theory was later dubbed “Heart of Darkness” by Jim Moore, alluding to the book of the same title written by Joseph Conrad, the main focus of which is colonial abuses in equatorial Africa.
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