How Did AIDs Start?
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, famously known as AIDS, is the most advanced stage of HIV (human immunodeficiency syndrome). It causes the development of different opportunistic infections and severe health complications. Without proper treatment, AIDS can ultimately damage the immune system and, worse, cause fatality or death.
How did AIDS start?
The origin of AIDS started with the emergence of HIV infection. Its first case was recorded in the year 1959 when a man from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo came into contact with HIV-infected blood. In the decades that followed, the infection spread slowly across the African continent until it reached other parts of the globe. In the year 1970s, the first case of HIV in the United States was recorded.
Although HIV arrived in the United States in the 1970s, it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the infection grabbed massive public attention. It was in 1981 when AIDS was first recognized in areas such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since then, more and more cases have continued to rise, not just in the United States but also in all continents.
The ‘patient zero’.
Gaetan Dugas, a French-Canadian airline employee, was wrongfully accused as the primary source of HIV spread in North America. Dugas had engaged in MSM activities (men who had sex with men), which made people blame him for the widespread infection. However, this was proven false by researchers.
It is important to note that HIV and AIDS had already prevailed in the 1970s, so the case involving Dugas was only a tiny fraction compared to the transmission performed by others. Researchers further stated that blaming others seems to be the safest way to establish distance between groups or individuals identified as “threats”.
Dugas was identified as ‘Patient Zero’. Initially, he was listed as Case O57. The letter “O” stood for “outside of California; however, the letter was mistaken for the zero number, which introduced the way for “Patient Zero”.
How does HIV become AIDS?
There are three stages of HIV infection. These are as follows:
- Acute infection
AIDS is the last stage of the said illness. If there is no treatment administered for people with HIV, the infection can become AIDS, which signals that the immune system has already been compromised. During this stage, several opportunistic infections can develop. Oftentimes, these conditions are difficult to treat because of the advancement of the virus. Fortunately, treatment options are still available in the form of antiretroviral drugs.
Antiretroviral drugs involve the combination of two or more anti-HIV agents to suppress and stop the viruses’ capacity to multiply. There are different types of these drugs that work similarly but have special functions in inhibiting the infection from taking more lives.
Get tested today. HIV can infect with no symptoms to show. That is why if you suspect having been exposed to the virus, get tested immediately and obtain the necessary medical care if your test result is positive.