HIV Arrived In U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’ Did. History of HIV / AIDS In America Rewritten.

What we know about AIDS and it's coming to America has changed.  The stigma of Patient Zero, the name Patient O, and the where the disease hit first has all new meaning.


In the tortuous mythology of the AIDS epidemic, one legend never seems to die: Patient Zero, aka Gaétan Dugas, a globe-trotting, sexually insatiable French Canadian flight attendant who supposedly picked up H.I.V. in Haiti or Africa and spread it to dozens, even hundreds, of other men before his death in 1984. –


Mr. Dugas was once blamed for sparking the entire American AIDS epidemic, which traumatized the nation in the 1980s and has since killed more than 500,000 Americans. The New York Post even ran a picture of him under the headline “The Man Who Gave Us AIDS.”

But after a new genetic analysis of stored blood samples, bolstered by some intriguing historical detective work, scientists on Wednesday declared him innocent.

The strain of H.I.V. responsible for almost all AIDS cases in the United States, which was carried from Zaire to Haiti around 1967, spread from there to New York City around 1971, researchers concluded in the journal Nature. From New York, it spread to San Francisco around 1976. –

The researchers also reported that originally Mr. Dugas wasn’t even called Patient Zero — in an early epidemiological study of cases, he was designated Patient O, for “outside Southern California,” where the study began. The ambiguous circular symbol on a chart was later read as a zero, stoking the notion that blame for the epidemic could be placed on one man. –

What is not known is if this new information will assist in fighting HIV / AIDS. But it does go to help understand the progression of the epidemic in the United States.  There is a great deal more in the New York's piece.  It is definitely worth a read. 



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