What is the origin of HIV?
The more virulent, pandemic strain of HIV, namely HIV-1, was until recently more difficult to place. Until 1999, the closest counterpart that had been identified was SIVcpz, the SIV found in chimpanzees. However, this virus still had certain significant differences from HIV. In February 1999 a group of researchers from the University of Alabama1 announced that they had found a type of SIVcpz that was almost identical to HIV-1. This particular strain was identified in a frozen sample taken from a captive member of the sub-group of chimpanzees known as Pan troglodytes troglodytes (P. t. troglodytes), whic ...more
use of used/contaminated syringes
The first recognised cases of AIDS occurred in the USA in the early 1980s (more about this period can be found on our history of aids page). A number of gay men in New York and California suddenly began to develop rare opportunistic infections and cancers that seemed stubbornly resistant to any treatment. At this time, AIDS did not yet have a name, but it quickly became obvious that all the men were suffering from a common syndrome.
The discovery of HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, was made soon after. While some were initially resistant to acknowledge the connection (and indeed some remain so today), there is now cl ...more