Canadian Flight Attendant Theory
A Canadian airline steward named Gaëtan Dugas was referred to as “Case 057” and later “Patient O” with the alphabet letter “O” standing for “outside Southern California”, in an early AIDS study by Dr. William Darrow of the Centers for Disease Control. Because of this, many people had considered Dugas to be responsible for taking HIV to North America. However, HIV reached New York City around 1971 while Dugas did not start work at Air Canada until 1974. In Randy Shilts‘ 1987 book And the Band Played On , Dugas is referred to as AIDS’s Patient Zero instead of “Patient O”, but neither the book nor the movie states that he had been the first to bring the virus to North America. He was incorrectly called “Patient Zero” because at least 40 of the 248 people known to be infected by HIV in 1983 had had sex with him, or with a person who had sexual intercourse with Dugas.
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.
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
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Activism By Aids Patients And Families
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.
The Evolution Of Research And Treatment
In September 1985, President Ronald Reagan called AIDS research a top priority for his administration. This came amidst criticism that government funding was inadequate and not enough had been done to find a treatment or cure. This was Reagans first public statement about AIDS.
Zidovudine, commonly known as AZT, was introduced in 1987 as the first treatment for HIV. Scientists also developed treatments to reduce transmission during pregnancy.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton hosted the first White House Conference on HIV and AIDS, and called for a vaccine research center. This center later opened in 1999.
Throughout the years, the government has continued to fund HIV- and AIDS-related:
- systems of care
- studies and research
In 1996, in Vancouver, researchers at the 11th International Conference on AIDS introduced the concept of highly active antiretroviral therapy . This regimen requires people with HIV to take a combination of at least three medications daily. HAART, which is commonly known as antiretroviral therapy, became the new treatment standard in 1997.
Between 1996 and 1997, deaths from HIV in the United States, largely as a result of HAART.
Also in 1997, the FDA approved Combivir. Combivir combines the drugs zidovudine and lamivudine into a single medication, making HIV medications easier to take.
The FDA continues to approve HIV medical products, regulating:
- product approval
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So Scientists Have Estimated When And Where The Most Deadly Type Of Hiv Started Infecting Humans
Most AIDS researchers believe that the “bushmeat trade” allowed the HIV-1 virus, and separately HIV-2, to enter the human bloodstream several times. Hunters who kill and butcher chimps and monkeys are regularly exposed to animal blood teeming with SIVs. If the hunters have cuts, bites, or scratches — and given the nature of their work they almost always do — they can catch the viruses from their prey. Hunters going after chimps in Cameroon could have caught the first strains of HIV-1. Sooty mangabeys, hunted and kept as pets in West Africa, could have transmitted HIV-2 to humans.
Africans have hunted chimps and monkeys and kept them as pets for centuries they’ve presumably been exposed to SIVs during most of that time. But the conditions needed for HIV to spread widely weren’t in place until after the continent was colonized and urbanized. The first victims would have found it easier to unwittingly spread the virus to sexual partners far and wide as roads and vehicles started connecting previously isolated villages and cities. Hospitals may have played a role, too. Strapped for cash, some of them probably re-used dirty needles, unknowingly infecting patients in the process.
Prevalence Of Conspiracy Beliefs
According to Phil Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, conspiracy theories are becoming a barrier to the prevention of AIDS since people start to believe that no matter what measures they take, they can still be prone to contracting this disease. A 2005 study suggests this makes them less careful when engaging in practices that put them at risk because they believe there is no point. “Nearly half of the 500 African Americans surveyed said that HIV is man-made. More than one-quarter said they believed that AIDS was produced in a government laboratory, and 12 percent believed it was created and spread by the CIA … At the same time, 75 percent said they believed medical and public health agencies are working to stop the spread of AIDS in black communities.”
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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
New Class Of Antiretrovirals
In 1995, the FDA approved saquinavir, the first in a different anti-HIV drug class called protease inhibitors. Like NRTIs, protease inhibitors stop the virus from copying itself, but at a different stage during the infection.
A year later came yet another class of antiretrovirals, called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor , including nevirapine . Similar to AZT, NNRTIs shut down HIV by targeting the enzymes it needs to multiply.
These drugs paved the way to a new era of combination therapy for HIV/AIDS. Doctors began prescribing saquinavir plus AZT or other antiretrovirals. This combination therapy was dubbed highly active antiretroviral therapy . That approach became the new standard of care for HIV in 1996. HAART greatly lengthened the life span of people with AIDS.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
Adaptation To New Host
To gain access and to became able to infect new species, all virus trait must get over barriers of the host immune system. To become successful in such challenges, they need to overcome some adaptive hurdles before a lentivirus can effectively infect other species like humans. Evidence of host-specific adaptation had been found in change of sites in viral proteome. The viral matrix protein encoded a Met in both SIVgor and SIVcpzPtt traits, while this had been switched to express Arg in HIV-1 ancestor, and it had been conserved as a basic amino acid . This type is more efficient in humans while the ancestral trait is more successful in apes.
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Why Is Haiti Significant
In the 1960s, the ‘B’ subtype of HIV-1 made its way to Haiti. This is thought to have happened because many Haitians had been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo and had then returned to Haiti. Initially, Haitians were blamed for starting the HIV epidemic, and suffered severe racism, stigma and discrimination as a result.
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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A Brief History Of The Epidemic In America
The identification of the virus began with rare lung infections and rare and unusually aggressive cancers in young gay men in New York and California. By December 1981, doctors found these same symptoms in five infants whose mothers were drug users and sex workers.
In 1992, AIDS became the number one cause of death for men in the U.S. aged 2544. By 1995, there were 500,000 reported cases of AIDS in the country. However, in 1996 the number of new AIDS cases declined for the first time since the epidemic began.
Discredited Hiv/aids Origins Theories
Various fringe theories have arisen to speculate about purported alternative origins for the human immunodeficiency virus and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , with claims ranging from it being due to accidental exposure to supposedly purposeful acts. Several inquiries and investigations have been carried out as a result, and each of these theories has consequently been determined to be based on unfounded and/or false information. HIV has been shown to have evolved from or be closely related to the simian immunodeficiency virus in West Central Africa sometime in the early 20th century. HIV was discovered in the 1980s by the French scientist Luc Montagnier. Before the 1980s, HIV was an unknown deadly disease.
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