August #126 : Monkey Business - by Lucile Scott

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Vital Signs

Martha Living


Double Positive

Less Than Zerit

Butt Out

Just Dose It

Who’s Your Daddy?

Beauty and the Beach

I Give At The Office

Giving It Up

Dial-up Prevention

The Ryan White Pages

Escape Artist

Badge of Dishonor

The Tribe Has Spoken

Iranian Bombshell

Monkey Business

Bungle in the Jungle

Dancing With the Stars

Better In The Bahamas?

Doggone It

Fear Factor

The Blame Game

Editor's Letter-August 2006

Mailbox-August 2006 Personals Catch of the Month-August 2006


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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August 2006

Monkey Business

by Lucile Scott

A discovery pinpoints the birthplace of HIV

In May, after decades of speculation, researchers isolated what they pegged as the origin of AIDS. The team, led by Beatrice Hahn, MD, of the University of Alabama, made the discovery in chimp feces in the African nation of Cameroon—and scientists worldwide went ape shit. Experts had long believed that the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) mutated into HIV-1 (responsible for the vast majority of global infections) after African hunters ingested or were bitten by infected chimps. But they couldn’t isolate an SIV strain similar enough to prove the point. Unlike its human counterpart, SIV does not attack chimp immune systems. “We found two strains that are dead ringers for HIV-1,” Hahn told POZ. “If we can compare the two, we can see what is species specific and understand why HIV-1 is so pathogenic.”

Conspiracy theories about HIV—that it started, say, as a genocidal government plot—abound globally. Will this silence such speculation? “Dr. Hahn has exaggerated her findings’ significance,” says Edward Hooper, whose book The River contends that HIV spread to humans in the ’50s through an experimental polio vaccine derived from infected chimp kidneys. “She has not found the source. The two viruses are close, but not that close.” Says Hahn, “People will believe what they want. It is not my responsibility to convince them. I just put out data.” Let the chest beating begin.

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