The Origins of AIDS
December 1, 2001 3:16 AM   Subscribe

The Origins of AIDS AIDS has become such a commonplace thing, hence the need for days like today. When is the last time you thought of how HIV/AIDS came about? Have you ever? Such interesting tidbits as the fact that it's been documented to 1959 can be found here.
posted by ashbury (5 comments total)
It's unfortunate that although this site identifies international travel, blood transfusions, and injection drug use as reasons why HIV spread so explosively, it ignores the major cause of the current epidemic, sexual promiscuity without condom use. Why?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 4:05 AM on December 1, 2001

I agree with Slithy_Tove. To attribute the rapid spread of AIDS to all those other things and leave out unsafe sex is a bit like leaving out cigarette smoking from the list of causes of lung cancer and emphysema.
posted by MAYORBOB at 4:12 AM on December 1, 2001

explore the site a bit -
The main ways that people become infected with HIV are:

by having sexual intercourse with an infected partner

by injecting drugs using a needle or syringe which has already been used by someone who is infected.
HIV can be passed on in both ways because the virus is present in the sexual fluids and blood of infected people. If infected blood or sexual fluid gets into your blood, then you will become infected.

AIDS uses many vectors to spread. What are the statistics on methods of infection?
posted by asok at 5:47 AM on December 1, 2001

The article also is focused on the origin of the HIV virus. The section on spreading the virus is entitled "What caused the epidemic to spread so suddenly?" (emphasis mine), so lists the reasons why HIV initially spread so quickly. They focused on causes that would initially spread HIV fast, far, and wide.

I was just discussing the origin of AIDS with two co-workers yesterday (imagine that). I'm going to print this out and bring it to work with me. Thanks!
posted by jennyb at 6:48 AM on December 1, 2001

MAYORBOB: To add to what jennyb posted, the section about international travel includes this remark. So, even given a misunderstanding of the context, you missed (or ignored) the fact that the article *did* include a mention of unprotected sex:

The role of international travel in the spread of HIV was highlighted by the case of 'Patient Zero'. Patient Zero was a Canadian flight attendant called Gaetan Dugas who travelled extensively worldwide. Analysis of several of the early cases of AIDS showed that the infected individuals were either direct or indirect sexual contacts of the flight attendant.
posted by raysmj at 9:58 AM on December 1, 2001

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