Where did HIV come from?

Armen Hareyan's picture

The earliest known case of HIV-1 in a human was from a blood sample collected in 1959 from a man in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. (How he became infected is not known.) Genetic analysis of this blood sample suggested that HIV-1 may have stemmed from a single virus in the late 1940s or early 1950s.


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We know that the virus has existed in the United States since at least the mid- to late 1970s. From 1979-1981 rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses were being reported by doctors in Los Angeles and New York among a number of male patients who had sex with other men. These were conditions not usually found in people with healthy immune systems.

In 1982 public health officials began to use the term "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome," or AIDS, to describe the occurrences of opportunistic infections, Kaposi's sarcoma (a kind of cancer), and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in previously healthy people. Formal tracking (surveillance) of AIDS cases began that year in the United States.


In 1983, scientists discovered the virus that causes AIDS. The virus was at first named HTLV-III/LAV (human T-cell lymphotropic virus-type III/lymphadenopathy- associated virus) by an international scientific committee. This name was later changed to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

For many years scientists theorized as to the origins of HIV and how it appeared in the human population, most believing that HIV originated in other primates. Then in 1999, an international team of researchers reported that they had discovered the origins of HIV-1, the predominant strain of HIV in the developed world. A subspecies of chimpanzees native to west equatorial Africa had been identified as the original source of the virus. The researchers believe that HIV-1 was introduced into the human population when hunters became exposed to infected blood.

For more information on this discovery, visit the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases press release at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/newsroom/releases/hivorigin.htm.Link Leaves the DHAP Internet Site

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention
Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention



I truly feel that there is a cure for everything. I think that the government is keeping this thing on a hush-hush. Can you imagine how many companies would fold if people found out a cure for alot of these viruses? I truly think its a conspiracy and BS. However the information above was extremely helpful and yes I agree with the last comment. Let find the cure for this thing thats killing millions of American's. Who cares of where the virus came from....