June #36 : Out of Africa - by Staff

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Table of Contents

Some Like It Hot

Body Snatchers

Sleeping With the Enemy

Out on a Lymphoma

ADAP or Perish

When Chemo Calls

Cliff Hanger

No Ordinary Patsy

Over Bite

Outlandish Behavior

Film Freak

Where to Find It

Milking It

Out of Africa

Nuke Wars

Cheap Sex

What a Croc

A Sari State

Karate Kid

Play Safe

Shot in the Arm

The Page Is the Rage


To the Editor

Touching Tale

Say What

Cosmo Confessions

Full of Spunk

POZ Picks

The Art of War


Bull Market

Final Analysis

The Secret Origin of Positoid

Wheels of Love

Party Favors

Cervix Service

Don’t Be So Sensitive

Hair Goes!

Hear Her Roar

Smear Campaign

If You Buy One Book...

Camp Heartland

Ladies First

New Drug watch

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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June 1998

Out of Africa

by Staff

HIV traced back to Congo, 1959

Conspiracy theories be damned, said AIDS star Dr. David Ho. A study he cowrote in February's Nature asserts that HIV reared its ugly head in Central Africa in the late '40s -- not in an American germ-warfare lab as the KGB once claimed and as Louis Farrakhan still does. The search for signs of HIV in 1,213 long-frozen blood samples turned up the earliest known case in a Bantu man who died in the Belgian Congo in 1959. There are now an estimated 20 million HIVers in the region.

"This is the oldest, totally unambiguous look at HIV," said Dr. Simon Wain-Hobson, of Paris' Pasteur Institute. A genetic analysis revealed that the sample resembles a forebear of several of the 10 distinct HIV subtypes (lettered A to J) found worldwide. In the developing world, B is the dominant strain; D is most common in Africa. "This is no doubt an ancestor of B and D," Ho said.

The finding is of more than just historic interest, since it allows researchers to eyeball HIV's decades-long evolution from parasite to plague. "This snapshot may help HIV vaccine efforts," Ho said, "because we can reasonably predict how the virus will evolve."

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