HIV / AIDS Origins

Want to know where HIV / AIDS came from? Keep reading.

HIV 1.

The most widely accepted view on the origin of HIV-1 is that the virus is endemic to a remote part of Central Africa, possibly in the mountains of Eastern Zaire, and that it began to spread to other parts of Africa only after the area had been penetrated by Europeans in the twentieth century.

In colonial Africa, it is quite possible that a low but persistent level of AIDS could have gone unnoticed by the poorly developed health services of the time. The first documented case of AIDS in Europe was seen in a Danish surgeon who had worked in Zaire. She died in 1976.

Source: New England Primate Conservatory

HIV 2.

Vanessa Hirsh et al. isolated a virus from the Sooty Mangabey, a West African monkey, which may have infected humans 20-30 years ago. They believed that the virus the monkeys carry, SIV, evolved into HIV-2. SIV is the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. Hirsh et al. molecularly cloned and sequenced the DNA of the virus and constructed an evolutionary tree of the several known primate immunodeficiency viruses. The tree showed SIVism to be more closely related to HIV-2 than to


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