Both HIV-1 and HIV-2 are believed to have originated in non-human primates in West-central Africa and were transferred to humans (a process known as zoonosis) in the early 20th century. HIV-1 appears to have originated in southern Cameroon through the evolution of SIV(cpz), a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that infects wild chimpanzees (HIV-1 descends from the SIVcpz endemic in the chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes). The closest relative of HIV-2 is SIV(smm), a virus of the sooty mangabey (Cercocebus atys atys), an Old World monkey living in litoral West Africa (from southern Senegal to western Côte d'Ivoire). New World monkeys such as the owl monkey are resistant to HIV-1 infection, possibly because of a genomic fusion of two viral resistance genes. HIV-1 is thought to have jumped the species barrier on at least three separate occasions, giving rise to the three groups of the virus, M, N, and O.
There is evidence that humans who participate in bushmeat activities, either as hunters or as bushmeat vendors, commonly acquire SIV. However, SIV is a weak virus, and it is typically suppressed by the human immune system within weeks of infection. It is thought that several transmissions of the virus from individual to individual in quick succession are necessary to allow it enough time to mutate into HIV. Furthermore, due to its relatively low person-to-person transmission rate, it can only spread throughout the population in the presence of one or more of high-risk transmission channels, which are thought to have been absent in Africa prior to the 20th century.
Specific proposed high-risk transmission channels, allowing the virus to adapt to humans and spread throughout the society, depend on the proposed timing of the animal-to-human crossing. Genetic studies of the virus suggest that the most recent common ancestor of the HIV-1 M group dates back to circa 1910. Proponents of this dating link the HIV epidemic with the emergence of colonialism and growth of large colonial African cities, leading to social changes, including a higher degree of sexual promiscuity, the spread of prostitution, and the concomitant high frequency of genital ulcer diseases (such as syphilis) in nascent colonial cities. While transmission rates of HIV during vaginal intercourse are low under regular circumstances they are increased many fold if one of the partners suffers from a sexually transmitted infection resulting in genital ulcers. Early 1900s colonial cities were notable due to their high prevalence of prostitution and genital ulcers to the degree that as of 1928 as many as 45% of female residents of eastern Kinshasa were thought to have been prostitutes and as of 1933 around 15% of all residents of the same city were infected by one of the forms of syphilis.
An alternative view holds that unsafe medical practices in Africa during years following World War II, such as unsterile reuse of single use syringes during mass vaccination, antibiotic and anti-malaria treatment campaigns, were the initial vector that allowed the virus to adapt to humans and spread.
The earliest well documented case of HIV in a human dates back to 1959 in the Congo. The virus may have been present in the United States as early as 1966.
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Famous quotes containing the word origins:
“Grown onto every inch of plate, except
Where the hinges let it move, were living things,
Barnacles, mussels, water weedsand one
Blue bit of polished glass, glued there by time:
The origins of art.”
—Howard Moss (b. 1922)
“The origins of clothing are not practical. They are mystical and erotic. The primitive man in the wolf-pelt was not keeping dry; he was saying: Look what I killed. Arent I the best?”
—Katharine Hamnett (b. 1948)
Sings his great theory of natural origins and of wise conduct; Plato
smiling carves dreams, bright cells
Of incorruptible wax to hive the Greek honey.”
—Robinson Jeffers (18871962)