HIV Hit U.S. in 1969
An evolutionary biologist has published new research on HIV which indicates that the diseases first entered the United States in 1969 most likely by a single infected person who immigrated from Haiti. This means that HIV infections had been occurring in America for roughly 12 years before the virus was recognized by scientists.
Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona led the study.
“It is somehow chilling to know it was probably circulating for so long under our noses,” Worobey said in a telephone interview.
The researchers conducted a genetic analysis of stored blood samples from early AIDS patients to determine when the human immunodeficiency virus first entered the United States.
They found that HIV was brought to Haiti by an infected person from central Africa in about 1966, which matches earlier estimates, and then came to the United States in about 1969.
The researchers think an unknown single infected Haitian immigrant arrived in a large city like Miami or New York, and the virus circulated for years — first in the U.S. population and then to other nations.
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide with another 40 million believe to be infected.