Thursday, December 18, 2008

HIV Older than First Thought

Recent discoveries in HIV research has revealed that the virus is at least a decade older than originally thought.  Scientists biopsying a lymph node of a woman from what is now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1960, contained traces of the HIV-1 genome.  Compared with existing HIV sequences suggest that HIV could have surfaced as early as 1908.  Findings disclosed in the October 2 publication, Nature, postulate that trade routes could have contributed to the emergence of the virus.  The origin of the virus is thought to be from the chimpanzee population of Cameroon, hundreds of kilometers from Kinshasa.  The consensus amongst researchers is that by understanding HIV's origin, the path to better AIDS therapies can be found.

Twenty-five years after the recognition of HIV as a threat to mankind, big challenges still remain in finding effective treatments, let alone a cure.  Any progress is welcome, but further advances are needed to help end the threat of this ugly disease.  If you would like to help with funding research, consider one of the charities listed below.

AIDS Research Alliance
American Social Health Association

Bailey House (formerly AIDS Resource Center)

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Foundation for AIDS Research (formerly AMFAR)

Gay Men's Health Crisis
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