AIDS Theories Arise

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Belgian Congo

1922

Belgium accepts the League of Nations Mandate to govern Rwanda along with its existing Congo colony to the west. The colonial rule was harsh and sanitation was poor, food was scare and physical demands extreme. A stray and perhaps sick chimpanzee with SIV would have made a welcome extra source of food.

A New Disease Discovered

1931

Dr Leon Pales, an expert in post-mortem examinations, documents autopsies carried out on workers who died from a new disease he describes as 'profound weight loss'. There are 26 cases where he could not find any evidence of the known pathogens, parasites or cancers, and recorded symptoms are suggestive of AIDS.
Dr. Jacques Pepin, found that people injected to treat sleeping sickness in the 1930s-1940s had died in the 1940s-1950s at a much higher rate than those not treated.

The Contaminated Needle

1950

The use of disposable platic syringes became readily available as a sterile way to administer medicines. For less wealthy countries the amount of syringes needed for each individual was costly so reusing the syringe was the solution.

Oral Polio Vaccine Distribution

1957

Jonah Salk developed the first polio vaccine consisting of virus strains grown in monkey kidney tissue. Some monkeys were suggested to have been infected with SIV. From 1957-1960 tens of thousands were treated with OPV treatment.

First Confirmed HIV Infection

1959

The earliest proven case of HIV infection is from a blood sample taken and stored form an unidentified Bantu male in the area of Leopoldville in the Belgian Congo.

Natural Transfer Theory

1960

Suggest that up to 2,000 people in African could have been infected by the 1960s

Lymph node Sample

1960

Second earliest proven case with HIV having been found in lymph node sample taken from an adult female in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In comparison to the 1959 discovery, there was a 12% difference, showing HIV presence and mutating in human for a decade.

First Confirmed US Case

1969

A 16 year old African American dies in May 1969 from bronchial pneumonia in Missouri after reportedly being ill since late 1966. Stored tissue sample were tested in 1987 as HIV positive. He had never traveled overseas nor left the Midwest.

Survivor transfused the infection

1976

A Canadian transport plane crashes near Kisangani (Stanleyville). The sole survivor is transfused with 2 units of locally sourced blood. He develops symptoms in 1977 and died in Canada in 1980. After testing become possible, stored samples tested HIV positive.

Blood Born Infection

1980

Dr. Jacques Pepin, studying blood born infection, finds that people injected to treat sleeping sickness in the 1930s-1940s had died in the 1940's-1950s at a much higher rate than those not treated. We now know that the natural history of HIV, if untreated, results in a life expectancy following infection of around 10 years.

Oral Polio Vaccine Theory

1999

A version of OPV AIDS hypothesis proposed by Edward Hooper.

Heart of Darkness

2000

Jim Moore, an American specialist in primate behavior published his finding in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.