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Feb 28 2012

A History of AIDS

Not qualified to judge the veracity of this, simply drawing it to your attention.

Colonialism in Africa helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago

By Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin, Washington Post

Published: February 27

Scientists had long known that a blood sample, preserved from 1959, showed that HIV had been circulating in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo, for several decades before the virus first drew international attention in the 1980s. In 2008, evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey sharpened that picture when he reported in the journal Nature the discovery of a second sample of the virus, trapped in a wax-encased lymph node biopsy from 1960.

By comparing these two historic pieces of virus and mapping out the differences in their genetic structures in his lab at the University of Arizona, Worobey determined that HIV-1 group M was much older than anyone had thought. Both samples of the virus appeared to have descended from a single ancestor at some time between 1884 and 1924. The most likely date was 1908.

Taken together, these two discoveries offered the clearest clues to the birth and early life of the epidemic.

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