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AIDS Origin Traced To 1920s Kinshasa

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    Last Updated: October 5, 2014


    An anonymous reader writes: A new study published in Science (abstract) has traced the origin of HIV/AIDS back to Kinshasa in the 1920s. The authors say Kinshasa, now in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was then undergoing explosive population growth while supporting an abundant sex trade. These factors, combined with the use of unsterilized needles at health clinics and the railways moving a million people in and out of the city each year, conspired to start the pandemic. “HIV is a mutated version of a chimpanzee virus, known as simian immunodeficiency virus, which probably made the species-jump through contact with infected blood while handling bush meat. The virus made the jump on multiple occasions. One event led to HIV-1 subgroup O which affects tens of thousands in Cameroon. Yet only one cross-species jump, HIV-1 subgroup M, went on to infect millions of people across every country in the world.”

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