December #54 : Where Did HIV Come From?

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Table of Contents

The AIDS Decade: The 99 Greatest Moments of the '90s

Inside Agitator

Happy Holidays?

It's 10 O'Clock. Do You Know Where Your Meds Are?

Publisher's Letter

Mailbox-December 1999

Your Money or Your Life

Mass Appeal


Parallel Universe


Syph 'N' Spin

Hot Copy

Attention, Shoppers

Where Did HIV Come From?

The Spirit of St. Louis

Splendor in the Pines

Keeping the Faith


Tenement Dreams

10,000 Hemophiliacs

Just Eat It

Food Fight

The Hit List

Compound Interest

When to Treat Hep C?

Hep Help Hurray!

The Scoop on Poop

Could You Have HAD?

Shelf Life

Vintage Gallo

Days of Wine and Doses

Less Is More

Cutting Corners

A Day Without

Catching Up With

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

December 1999

Where Did HIV Come From?

The August discovery  that the frozen body of a 15-year-old male prostitute who died of Kaposi’s sarcoma at St. Louis City Hospital in 1969 was infected with a strain of HIV pushed back the nation’s first recorded AIDS case by a decade. St. Louis peer educator Tshepiso Matlapeng, 19, asked her contemporaries for their
theories about HIV’s origins.

Lachelle Petty
18, student
“It came from a small STD and was able to be cured. But it grew stronger and now can’t be cured.”
Josh Stanley
16, student
“My fifth-grade teacher told us some African tribespeople ran around having sex with monkeys. It sounds like crap to me, but that’s all I’ve ever heard about the origin.”

Miraida Riley
17, student
“Maybe it came from some wild plant.”

Kamechia May
18, student
“We first heard about it in the gay community. So where did they get it from?”

Larry McDonald
18, sales associate
“The government.”

Miguel Candelaria
18, student
“From scientists having too much time on their hands—mixing chemicals and fucking up.”

Marttise Hill
12, student
“Monkeys. Wait…yeah, monkeys!”

Sheila Hudson
18, “student of life”
“I don’t know, but it needs to be handled because I have friends suffering from it.”

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