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Personal historical perspective of HIV: part 11
  1. Philip D Welsby
  1. Retired, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Philip D Welsby, Retired, Edinburgh, UK; philipwelsby{at}aol.com

Abstract

All animal life on earth is thought to have a common origin and have common genetic mechanisms. Evolution has enabled differentiation of species. Pathogens likewise have evolved within various species and mostly come to a settled dynamic equilibrium such that co-existence results (pathogens ideally should not kill their hosts). Problems arise when pathogens jump species because the new host had not developed any resistance. These infections from related species are known as zoonoses. COVID-19 is the latest example of a virus entering another species but HIV (and various strains of influenza) were previous examples. HIV entered the human population from monkeys in Africa. These two papers outline the underlying principle of HIV and the differing epidemiologies in Africa, the USA and in Edinburgh. The underlying immunosuppression of HIV in Africa was initially hidden behind common infections and HIV first came to world awareness in focal areas of the USA as a disease seemingly limited to gay males. The epidemic of intravenous drug abuse in Edinburgh was associated with overlapping epidemics of bloodborne viruses like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

  • general medicine (see internal medicine)
  • history (see medical history)
  • infectious diseases
  • HIV & AIDS

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Footnotes

  • Contributors I am sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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