Africa | AIDS/HIV | Health | Maps

Origin of AIDS Pandemic Pushed Back to Late 19th, Early 20th Century


Gene fragments from the wax-embedded lymph node of a woman in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire have helped scientists determine that the HIV virus was around much earlier than the mid-20th century, and began spreading among humans in sub-Saharan Africa around the turn of the centuries as modern cities began to form:

Hiv"Researchers think the growth of cities -- and high-risk behavior associated with urban life -- may have helped the virus to flourish. There is no cure for AIDS, which is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact.Prior estimates put the origin of HIV at 1930. But Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona in Tucson now believes HIV began infecting humans between 1884 and 1924."

What's that map at at the top?

It's something I discovered completely independently of the news about HIV/AIDS but it's related.

It's part of a fascinating new book called The Atlas of the Real World, which visualizes maps of the earth using software to depict the nations of the world, "not by their physical size, but by their demographic importance on a range of subjects."

The map above features information about AIDS: "The size of each territory shows the number of people aged 15 to 49 with HIV. The highest prevalence exists in Swaziland, where 38 per cent of 15 to 49-year-olds carry the virus. More than a fifth of people in Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia, within this age range, carry HIV."

Here are a bunch of different maps on various topics.

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  1. The reason HIV was thought to be a new virus was because people confused its detection with its birth. HIV has essentially been around for thousands of years. Like an undiscovered land mass, it was simply waiting to be discovered. The advanced virus-detecting technologies that arose in the 1970's and 1980's enabled this to occur.

    I should also add that HIV does not cause AIDS. Keep in mind that the word "cause" is a very strong one. I can guarantee you that there are thousands upon thousands - and possibly millions - of people who have HIV in their systems who will never get AIDS.

    The only reason why the HIV-causes-AIDS theory prevailed is because the gay community failed to face up to the core of promiscuity which defined the gay rights movement. It was so much easier to blame AIDS on a reckless virus rather than on reckless personal behavior which is known to directly disturb the immune system (eg amyl nitrate, non-stop partying, abuse of drugs, sex with many strangers who are carriers of venereal diseases).

    Posted by: jason | Oct 2, 2008 7:28:20 AM

  2. Jason, you idiot, then explain why kids like Ryan White came down with AIDS? The S in AIDS is "syndrome" the V in HIV is "virus." Figure out what those words mean you twat.

    Posted by: what | Oct 2, 2008 8:04:04 AM

  3. That's it! Just when one becomes convinced that Jason could not post a more stupid and vile comment (than those that have preceded this drivel), he cribs together discarded talking points of homophobic bigots from the early 80s. The only thing you can "guarantee," you imbecile, is that you will continue to post ill considered, offensive, and off-topic comments until Andy tires of your diatribes and bans your ability to comment further.

    Posted by: rudy | Oct 2, 2008 8:20:14 AM

  4. Don't you dare accuse me of being a bigot. I'm a great believer in gay rights including gay marriage. My qualms relate to gay correctness and the tendency by some in our movement to define it on the basis of sexual promiscuity. This I won't tolerate. Our community did not fight for the right to have promiscuous sex and catch diseases. It fought for the right to have same-sex relations - this is what our movement should be about. I am thoroughly sick of the sleazeballs who think that gay rights means the right to fuck your brains out.

    As for HIV and AIDS, I stand by my comments. And I have a back-up in the scientific community. Deal with it.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 2, 2008 8:32:32 AM

  5. Wow. I just realized my 4 years of med school, 4 years for a PhD, and 4 years of residency were all for nothing - JASON knew about the secret HIV/AIDS conspiracy all along. I just wish he would tell the HIV+ children that I treat for AIDS. They're obviously under the allusion that they are promiscuous gay men and their bodies are reacting accordingly. DUH! Or maybe it's the bisexual double standard that is killing them? Either way, I'm convinced by his rants.

    [Ok, in all seriousness now, shall we just ignore JASON?]

    Posted by: sexyback | Oct 2, 2008 9:06:09 AM

  6. Sexyback, didn't you just say you were 24 on another post?

    Posted by: jmg | Oct 2, 2008 10:06:52 AM

  7. Jason who? Since he only makes 2 1/2 comments that he cuts and pastes into threads across the web, arguing with him is pointless. Let him spout his masturbatory crackpot theories all by his lonesome.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 2, 2008 10:08:35 AM


    Posted by: 24play | Oct 2, 2008 10:26:40 AM

  9. What a douche...

    Has anyone ever noticed that JASON never answers ANY questions put to him that refute his asinine theories?

    Like how does he explain the ravages of HIV/AIDS in Africa where transmission rates are almost exclusively heterosexual...are poppers causing them to die? Elaborate please...

    Or as mentioned above cases like Ryan White...what did he die from Jason? Please explain...

    And guess what there J, heterosexuals and homosexuals promiscuity rates are very similar and that has been shown over and over again. How can this be?...

    Posted by: Derek | Oct 2, 2008 10:38:42 AM

  10. And Jason, please give me an example of one-JUST ONE-person in the gay rights movement that "define(s) it on the basis of sexual promiscuity"...

    We'll wait for your answer while you collect your thoughts.

    Posted by: Derek | Oct 2, 2008 10:42:41 AM

  11. There's a site called that supplies information about certain demographics: religion, income, AIDS, condom usage, population, etc. Check it out.

    Posted by: Tommy | Oct 2, 2008 10:46:47 AM

  12. Not gonna happen, ladies. It's sleepytime Down Under.

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 2, 2008 10:48:42 AM

  13. JMG, indeed I am 24. My rant up there was supposed to be jokey - I guess I should have put in quotes or something. I'm nerdy, but a PhD would melt my brain!

    Posted by: sexyback | Oct 2, 2008 11:45:44 AM

  14. So Jason, you wouldn't mind becoming infected yourself, being so clean?

    Posted by: anon | Oct 2, 2008 12:19:52 PM


    I don't know about JMG, but I just assumed you were a genius-- completing a PhD and residency by the age of 24. You seem pretty smart to me.

    ... don't be so modest...probably have a sexy front too :-] (my smiley face has too lipstick at the edges)

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 2, 2008 12:28:44 PM

  16. Lulz.

    Way to get some really effective trolling going on the very first comment. It took me back to 1995 when Michael Petrelis was piping the same tune to anyone in the media who would give him space -- but he did it in all his deluded sincerity.

    It amazes me that Petrelis is still on the scene, although he seems to have quietly dropped the HIV denialism -- without any public reversal or apology to the many, many people his self-promotion may have encouraged to put their health at risk.

    Posted by: Distingué Traces | Oct 2, 2008 12:43:27 PM

  17. Jason, I stand corrected. You have deftly proven that it is possible for you to descend even lower into your self-created slough of imbecility, self-loathing, and bigotry. Why would you let scientific analysis and logical reasoning form the bases for your opinions when it is far easier to project self-hating nonsense upon others? Thanks darling, but there are some self-proclaimed gay advocates that our family would wish were otherwise engaged.

    Posted by: rudy | Oct 2, 2008 3:30:31 PM

  18. lol Thanks DERRICK! I'm afraid the closest thing I have to genius or talent is that I've twice been mistaken for Justin Timberlake. Curse or compliment? I don't know but wish I had his rhythm :) You know there was a kid somewhere out west who graduated from med school when he was 10. I think he went into obgyn. A prepubescent boy ferreting around in vaginas just seems wrong to me... Or maybe that's my bisexual double standard??

    Posted by: sexyback | Oct 2, 2008 5:00:21 PM

  19. Gee, Jason, I dunno. If my memory serves me well, I recall that promiscuity was not the "core" of the gay rights movement. I think it was more about civil liberties, the right to privacy and the right not to be discriminated against. I think your take on the gay rights movement is way off the mark. Please, spare us your typical "blame the victim" mentality.

    Posted by: mike | Oct 4, 2008 4:22:31 PM

  20. Gee, Jason, I dunno. If my memory serves me well, I recall that promiscuity was not the "core" of the gay rights movement. I think it was more about civil liberties, the right to privacy and the right not to be discriminated against. I think your take on the gay rights movement is way off the mark. Please, spare us your typical "blame the victim" mentality.

    Posted by: mike | Oct 4, 2008 4:22:41 PM

  21. Ahhh, promiscuity. What I wouldn't give these days just for just a little promiscuity. What pray tell is the problem with being promiscuous? There are, to this day, those of us who identify as homosexual who want nothing to do with a Hallmark inspired, June & Ward Clever existence. Promiscuity as I remember it beats the hell out trying to get the passive agressive queen to whom one accidently pledges fidelity to balance the checkbook and go to a dam job interview.

    Posted by: Robert | Oct 4, 2008 4:57:54 PM

  22. we are all to different degrees full of self hate because of the cultural ideals we have been taught since we were born. Call it brainwashing. breaking free from that brainwashing and defining ourselves outside of what society and religion preaches is very hard. we all struggle with it. love yourself. i know it is hard. it is hard for me. love yourself. you are a beautiful lovable person. quit trying to be loved by your your mother or father. fuck them.

    Posted by: daveinatl | Oct 4, 2008 5:42:22 PM

  23. Ryan White more than like likely died of hemophiliac conditions. Only internal bleeding and hemorrhaging, liver failure, and collapse of other physiological systems were listed. These conditions happen to match the classical description of hemophilia, none being listed as peculiar to the AIDS condition.

    It was acknowledged that his hemophilia condition was more severe than average, requiring him to take clotting factor every day near the end. On top of all that, White had taken AZT, the former toxic cancer chemotherapy.
    It's fairly well known that many hemophiliacs show up positive on the unspecific ELISA and Western Blot HIV antibody tests. The combination of proteins on those tests are highly suspect. If the tests weren't so highly diluted (400 and 50 times) everyone would test positive.

    Posted by: otter4771 | Oct 7, 2008 4:56:16 AM

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