Randy Shilts' theory that AIDS came to the US during the bicentennial celebration the summer of 1976.
Was reading some stuff about Shilts, and he claimed that sailors from aroud the globe who gatherered in NYC that summer brought AIDS here. His theory was based on anecdotal evidence. I think it's an interesting theory and not implausible. Do you guys, especially those of you who were of age when the first cases were diagnosed, have an opinion of Shilt's theory? Thanks.
It's certainly plausible, given the timeline. I don't really think we'll know the definitive truth about how AIDS started and exactly how it spread.
I think it's about as plausible as any, but that's not saying I support it. Trying to track the chain of a pathogenic infection using historical supposition and conjecture is about as scientific as plotting the rotation of the planets by watching my dog's tail wag.
In the absence of data, it's an intriguing idea. However, the evidence based on DNA sequence suggests that HIV came to the US around 1969. 1976 is probably outside of the range.
There was only that one case in 1969 (teenage hustler in St. Louis) and then nothing. I would assume that there was research done on unexplained deaths before 1979 and nothing was found.
The bicentennial celebration theory, while basically a literary device, is still plausible.
What about patient 0 the Canadian steward?
Randy's book was brilliant but I think he was using the 1976 Bicentennial as a journalistic hook to hang his facts on. It's a good one.
But it's a hypothetical.
r6 - he died in 1984. And for the record, Shilts did not say that Dugas brought AIDS to the US.
The 1969 date for HIV arriving in the US is based on how fast DNA of the virus accumulates changes (evolution) and the degree of difference between strains. It's the best scientific evidence we have.
HIV was around in Africa long before then.
Because all the gay men from around the world who came to the US in 1974 or 1975 weren't infected?
Let's not try to romance history.
Gaetan (rhymes with Satan) Dugas. Patient Zero. "Someone gave this to me." Ugh.
If the incubation period between HIV and full blown AIDS is 5-10 years, the bicentennial theory makes some sense. Guys started getting ill in clusters in 1981.
In the summer of 1978, I met and fell in love with someone who said he had a disease that was making him lose weight. He was afraid it was contagious, and he went through the process of teaching both of us about what we would come to call safe sex a few years later.
He eventually stopped participating in sex -- three-ways he arranged turned into his watching me have sex with other men, eventually. I couldn't really take that, finally, and I left. I moved to another city -- not because of him, but in a way, it was good to get out of town.
He got sicker, and moved back home with his parents.
He never became a quilt panel, to the best of my knowledge.
I definitely believe AIDS existed before 1981.
The prevailing theory is that HIV was introduced to the US a few times (see the Robert R case in 1969) before it took hold and spread.
The incubation period from infection to full-blown AIDS was about 10 years from the start. People started dying en masse in 1981/82. So it follows that the first widespread infections happened in the early '70s.
The Bicentennial was a too-elegant literary device for Shilts, as was Patient Zero. Both wrong.
I believe there was an English sailor who had all of the symptoms in the 1950's.
My personal theory was the airline deregulation act may have contributed to the spread because for the first time, air travel that was once out of the price range for most people suddenly became affordable. It was especially true for the fare on long distance, international flights. The act was signed in 1978.
When the airlines allow male flight attendants?
I can't remember the date.
BTW, I'm reading the Origins of AIDS right now. The author is claiming it spread in Africa due to reusing syringes and prostitution, coupled with political upheaval.
David Carr was the English sailor who died of pneumonia/immune deficiency in 1959. But it's unclear whether he died of HIV, or his preserved tissue was contaminated in the lab with a later HIV strain.
Regardless, it's been established that HIV-1 was being spread in Africa in the '60s.
r16, if that's true, that is the saddest example of the law of unintended consequences.
There were two sailors.
Arvid Noe was the Norwegian soldier who died in 1976. Probably infected by an African prostitute a decade earlier. His wife and child also died. Tissue from all three tested HIV+ in the '80s.
The incubation period can be anywhere from 8 months to who knows how long.
1969 is uncomfortably close to the Woodstock music festival...
8 months, r22? I've never heard that short a time frame before. I know that people with already weakened immune systems, such as IV drug users, tend to progress to AIDS sooner than other, but 8 months sound a little too soon.
r14 I think it is plausible. The epidemic was helped along by the gay community. It was the live free (to have anonymous sex) or die attitude of many in the late '70s that turned this disease into a global pandemic. Shilt, like Larry Kramer, was very critical of the "gay culture."
What year were the gay New York bath-houses at their raunchiest swing? 1980 looked pretty wild in "Cruising."
[quote]8 months sound a little too soon.
If I recall the book correctly, the sick people who got the virus from blood transfusions got sick(er) rather quickly.
Cruising portrayed the gay world as ritualistic and sick. It is not a proper barometer of the times.
Think of the cases of transfusion AIDS. It took about a year in some people. I'm sure there's a curve, with 8 months being at the very low end. But if we say 1976 is a starting date and people started showing up around 1979 with symptoms, then the theory could work.
You know, one of the reasons we protested "Cruising" at the time it was being made was because we were worried that, with so little positive gay images being created at the time, people in the future might look back and think that the movie represented reality.
And -- I hate to bring this up -- but "Band Played On" was a hateful book in which Shilts settled score after score with his old enemies. In the AIDS activist community at the time it was discredited and reviled.
But, of course, the straight community took it to their heart ... which should tell you something about Shilts and his theories.
It originated in the jungles of Africa. At some point a gorilla or orangutan ate two smaller monkey varieties, each of which had a viral infection. When combined, they became the AIDS virus. Then human hunters killed and ate the larger primate, and from there it spread to other humans via sexual contact. This all would've happened back in the 1930s, if not earlier. Once infected humans traveled out of their rural villages into densely populated city centers, the infection rate really picked up.
Even if the flight attendant hadn't contracted it and willfully spread it to others ("I have the Gay Cancer, and now you do too"--asshole), from the moment the hunter killed the large primate all those decades ago it was just a matter of time before it spread worldwide. In that sense, it doesn't matter when it first reached American shores. If it'd happened a decade earlier or a decade later, different people would be dead but the medical community still would have needed years to identify the disease before it could begin to formulate treatment and prevention protocols.
Um, I'm in the gay community and his reporting holds up.
r30 I think you're in denial or at least too afraid to face the reality of what gay culture in the '70s. This was post-Stonewall and it was a decade of gay sexual revolution.
Why did it explode so virulently in the gay community and not really in the straight world? Many hets were as sexually promiscuous as gay men during the 70s, so certainly you'd think they were just as susceptible. Total fluke/luck of the draw? Just so sad to think about.
I always wondered why Shilts said little about the Gay Olympics (mid-82) as while it wasn't as big in general numbers as the bicentennial, it did bring a relatively huge concentration of Gay men from all over the world at a time when many were still debating transmission routes.
I was there -- it was a huge and glorious fuck-fest, with early GRID activists left alone in their with their pamphlets and warnings pretty much ignored.
It was the same a year later in 1983 at Christopher Street West in LA -- the poor doctor huddled in his booth pretty much ignored as were those manning the Gay Scientist booth with much of the same information while all the boys were running off together.
Gorillas don't eat monkeys; Orangutans are only found in Borneo.
[quote]And -- I hate to bring this up -- but "Band Played On" was a hateful book in which Shilts settled score after score with his old enemies. In the AIDS activist community at the time it was discredited and reviled.
Agreed. Shilts certainly had his biases motivated by bitterness.
In his defense, the science simply wasn't there, in terms of HIV's origin, at the time ATBPO was published.
Now it's there. Patient Zero has been debunked. The Bicentennial-ships theory is not considered scientifically reputable. It's probably impossible to pinpoint HIV's spread in the US with that kind of granularity anyway — there was so much travel and free love happening for the entire decade.
There were cases among Portuguese soldiers who had been deployed in Guinea Bissau in the mid-70's.
R34 the vag does not tear as easily as the anus. It's a blood borne disease. At that time anal was not as popular with the hets.
[quote]Why did it explode so virulently in the gay community and not really in the straight world? Many hets were as sexually promiscuous as gay men during the 70s, so certainly you'd think they were just as susceptible. Total fluke/luck of the draw?
Not a fluke. It's science.
Anal sex is a more efficient mode of transmission than vaginal sex. Almost all anal sex causes tears and bleeding, enabling semen to go directly into the bloodstream. Vaginal tissue is more resilient, and heterosexual men don't experience the pooling of fluid that causes easy infection.
Even though the death toll was high didn't you all think it would be much greater? I thought it was going to be the bubonic plague of it's time killing a large percentage of the population and causing a societal collapse. Though it was a slow start I think science, medicine, and the government did a pretty good job in containing it. At least if you compare it to what it could have been.
r39, if that's the case, then why is it primarily contracted through hetero transmission in Africa?
[quote]Now it's there. Patient Zero has been debunked.
Actually, no. Shilts accurately described Dugas as ".. Patient Zero of AIDS, because he was linked directly or indirectly with 40 of the first 248 reported cases of AIDS in the U.S." I believe someone at the CDC actually started that. He was linked to clusters in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
[quote]The Bicentennial-ships theory is not considered scientifically reputable. It's probably impossible to pinpoint HIV's spread in the US with that kind of granularity anyway — there was so much travel and free love happening for the entire decade.
Again, no one knows, but it is plausible. It probably came earlier in several places. But it's also likely that it was a great time to have it spread.
I'm not an expert, but a friend who's a biostatistician and who worked for the Harvard Center for AIDS research explained once to me mathematical (statistical) reasons why viruses tend to spread and kill their host organisms more quickly during the early stages of an epidemic such as AIDS but it's been a while so I only have a vague recollection of that explanation.
R34 Actually, the Haitian community was hit really bad in the early years and that was spread from mostly heterosexual contact. Apparently the town in the US with the highest per capita HIV and AIDs cases is a town in Florida that is primarily composed of Haitian immigrants.
I think two things may have contributed to the spread in the gay community. First, lets face it, gay men have more sexual partners than your average straight person, but the pool for prospective partners is much, much smaller. Back in my bar hoping days, even in NYC, I would often see the same faces at different bars as the years went by. Second, drug abuse was as it still is, a big problem in the gay community. Abusing drugs lowers one immunity hence making one more susceptible.
I don't think we'll ever know but here are some more stats:
Four of the earliest known instances of HIV infection are as follows:
1.A plasma sample taken in 1959 from an adult male living in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2.A lymph node sample taken in 1960 from an adult female, also from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
3.HIV found in tissue samples from an American teenager who died in St. Louis in 1969.
4.HIV found in tissue samples from a Norwegian sailor who died around 1976.
Shilts' speculation is exactly that. Nothing in his so-called reporting would be considered a peer reviewed scientific study.
R44 viruses mutate, their earliest strains are the most virulent.
[quote]Shilts' speculation is exactly that. Nothing in his so-called reporting would be considered a peer reviewed scientific study.
His reporting is fine -- and he never presented his speculation as anything but that. He never pretended to be a scientist.
[quote]he was linked directly or indirectly with 40 of the first 248 reported cases of AIDS in the U.S.
Which does not mean he infected them, which was the "Patient Zero" theory.
In the patient zero study, the average length of time between sexual contact with Gaetan Dugas and the onset of symptoms was 10.5 months. At the time of the study it was not known that the average length of time between initial infection and AIDS is ten years.
A November 2007 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences dismisses the Patient Zero hypothesis and claims that AIDS transited from Africa to Haiti in 1966 and from Haiti to the United States in 1969.
r49, further to that point, even scientists qualify their statements.
Dr. Pepin (Origins of AIDS) is very careful about clearly stating theories as speculative, even as he says he uses them to shape his hypotheses about AIDS' origin.
An AIDS timeline, from its origins in 1930s Africa to now:
[quote]At the time of the study it was not known that the average length of time between initial infection and AIDS is ten years.
That statistic is an average and not reliable. As stated earlier, a lot of these guys partied...a lot. Weakened immune systems. They could easily started getting sick within a year or two of infection.
Wasn't Haiti one of the earliest gay tourist destinations?
A 1998 analysis of the plasma sample from 1959 suggested that HIV-1 was introduced into humans around the 1940s or the early 1950s.
In January 2000, the results of a new study suggested that the first case of HIV-1 infection occurred around 1931 in West Africa. This estimate (which had a 15 year margin of error) was based on a complex computer model of HIV's evolution.
However, a study in 2008 dated the origin of HIV to between 1884 and 1924, much earlier than previous estimates. The researchers compared the viral sequence from 1959 (the oldest known HIV-1 specimen) to the newly discovered sequence from 1960. They found a significant genetic difference between them, demonstrating diversification of HIV-1 occurred long before the AIDS pandemic was recognised.
The authors suggest a long history of the virus in Africa and call Kinshasa the “epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic” in Central Africa. They propose the early spread of HIV was concurrent with the development of colonial cities, in which crowding of people increased opportunities for HIV transmission. If accurate, these findings imply that HIV existed before many scenarios (such as the OPV and conspiracy theories) suggest.
Haiti was THE tourist destination for gay men for decades. The poor, young men rented themselves out.
Much like you have UK white women going over to Cuba and Jamaica i.e "milk bottles."
Well, the cases came out of NYC so it's possible.
Haiti became a hotspot long before AIDS hit the US. Haiti had a very large portion of the male population that worked in the Congo then returned to Haiti year after year. That is how it spread to Haiti. Not because gay men were shooting their loads up the asses of unsuspecting Haitians. It wasn't all our fault.
I think r54 was implying that some US gay men got it when they visited Haiti and brought it back with them. One of many probable ways it was introduced in the US.
What about the theory that the virulent strain was created in the lab by the U.S. Army and was deliberately spread as a practical study of germ warfare (and an experiment in social engineering)?
What about the Oral Polio Vaccine AIDS hypothesis?
AIDS was started in Afrika by Afromos who had sex with chimps.
Why must you 'mos always bring oral or anal or scat or urine into every discussion?
this thread is astounding in its ignorance, you fools know not ONE person who had AIDS in the United States before 1978. And Hepatits B vaccinations commenced in the United States in 1978.....
Yes, AIDS started in America.
I dimly recall reading about a blood drive that was undertaken in the early 70s to create a Hep b vaccine and that gay men in SF were the primary donors. I recall seeing a huge vat of serum created from that blood which was the vaccine which was then injected into hundreds of those same donors to test that vaccine. All in the early 70s.
yes it started in America, in its military laboratories
I still sort of support the theory about the early polio vaccines. There was evidence that early versions of the vaccine were tested on Haitian immigrants who were working in Zaire in Africa, and they came back with it, and it continued on to the USA.
I also think there's more than one Patient Zero. I think of the Patient Zero theory in terms of each cluster having a Patient Zero. These clusters were in various population centers. Since he traveled so much it's plausible to me Dugas was Patient Zero for more than one cluster.
We haven't talked about the similarities between HIV and feline leukemia or the similarities with the Ebola virus in Africa. The other theory I read is that the Ebola virus mutated and traveled.
Ebola isn't even CLOSE to AIDS. On the other hand Ebola and Marburg are virtually indistinguishable. In fact the only way to be sure is to test for antibodies.
Marburg produces one kind of antibodies and Ebola produces another kind.
Marburg was first brought over from Africa in the 1960s in monkeys to labs in Germany and Yugoslavia.
Marburg and Ebola are not even closely related to HIV.
[quote]Why did it explode so virulently in the gay community and not really in the straight world? Many hets were as sexually promiscuous as gay men during the 70s
Please. Nobody on the planet has ever been as promiscuous as gay men in the 70s. There may have been an infinitessimally small percentage of the straight population that had sex with multiple partners in a day. I knew gay men who had sex with four or five people on multiple days per week, for years and years.
Even today, I've seen stats showing that if gay men just halved the number of sex partners they have each year, AIDS would basically be stopped in its tracks.
I wonder how the hets who lived for Plato's Retreat fared?
[quote]Even today, I've seen stats showing that if gay men just halved the number of sex partners they have each year, AIDS would basically be stopped in its tracks.
I was one of the guys back in the '80s who were telling people to "just stop having sex!" I was called every name in the book, especially "homophobic" and its equivalents. It still hurts. And, no, it doesn't make me feel any better to think that many of the guys who told me to get lost or called me a drama queen are dead now.
'59, '69, '76
What does it matter? It came, it killed.
How will knowing who, when, where change anything?
When (progression) and where (demographics) definitely matter, R73. I shouldn't have to tell you why.
"Patient Zero has been debunked"
How has it been "debunked?" There WAS a flight attendant named Gaetan Dugas. He WAS rampantly promiscuous, and since he could travel for free he really got around. After he got his AIDS diagnosis he continued to go to bathhouses and behaved the way he'd always done. When told by health professionals that he could spread the virus through sex, he absolved himself of all culpability, saying of his sex partners "it's their duty to protect themselves." His thinking was sociopathic:
"I got it. They can get it, too." No doubt he played a large part in spreading AIDS, especially in New York, where he liked to hang out because of the uninhibited gay scene there. So...how has the behavior of Gaetan Dugas been "debunked?"
I know the Degas connection is probably speculation at best, but just to ponder the idea that your average flight attendant with no agenda harm anyone was responsible for millions of ill and dead people worldwide is tough to wrap one's mind around. It's almost inconceivable.
because he wasnt the first one, hence he is not Patient Zero
[quote]I know the Degas connection is probably speculation at best, but just to ponder the idea that your average flight attendant with no agenda harm anyone was responsible for millions of ill and dead people worldwide is tough to wrap one's mind around. It's almost inconceivable.
Don't ever take a virology class if you want to ever again get a good night's sleep.
The Voice of the Night
[quote][R61]Why must you 'mos always bring oral or anal or scat or urine into every discussion?
You are an idiot. Even google won't help you.
[quote]"Patient Zero has been debunked" How has it been "debunked?"
Read R50 again.
Degas' behavior helped illustrate how the virus was being passed over distance, and as noted above, he was the "zero" in many clusters, but the general public had taken that to mean he brought the virus to the US, whereas Shilts, on his very first page, says it could have been the Bicentennial.
With so many of the early victims being sailors who had been to Africa, MDs who had been to Africa, and laborers who had been to Africa, taking sailors as a likely cause for many of the early cases is not far fetched.
[quote]Shilts, on his very first page, says it could have been the Bicentennial.
Shilts's discussion was premised on his observation that the Bicentennial year was the last that his friends recalled that everyone they knew was healthy. Correlation is not causality.
I can't believe we are still giving credence to theories in a book published in 1987.
1987! As in 26 years ago. As in six years after AIDS started appearing.
Literally billions have been spent on research into HIV's origin and spread since then. Do some reading. Educate yourselves. The ignorance being expressed on this thread is depressing.
Again, the CDC dubbed him "Patient Zero". It didn't mean he brought it to the US. It means that he provided a link between the outbreaks of a then unknown disease in several cities. Shilts made no claim beyond that. The focus on him in the book was a way to link the stories between the NY, LA and SF cases and as an example of the kind of promiscuity that a lot of people were engaging in. If you read the book, he also details the stories of others much less promiscuous who still got it. r75 has basically stated it correctly but leaves the impression that he personally infected a lot of people. It only takes a few of the right people to have it grow exponentially, as VOTN points out.
Seriously, were urban gay men really that much more promiscuous than their urban straight counterparts in the 70s? My uncle came of age in the '70s. He was straight out of Saturday Night Fever, and according to him was fucking one chick after another. It was just the time...the sexual revoluation was in full swing for gay and straight men, especially those living in big cities. It could've easily exploded in the straight world as it did in the gay world, if not for the fact that it just happened to have started with a gay man. Luck of the draw, I suppose.
The CDC did not dub him Patient Zero. They called him Patient O, as in "Out of California."
Shilts misinterpreted this in his early reporting, the (homophobic) mainstream media ran with it, and it's evolved into apocrypha at the expense of later discoveries.
Again, you kids need to do some reading.
They tried to make it "Straights can get it too" but it wasn't that sort of virus. It needed direct access to the bloodstream -- something not often seen in straight sex.
r82 - I don't understand your post. You quote "Shilts, on his very first page, says it could have been the Bicentennial." and then state that "correlation is not causality." Very true, but that's a non sequitur.
His account is a very accurate chronicle of what was happening during those six years. The reporting of the politics of federal agencies, cities, the gay community etc was contemporaneous and spot on.
What theories stated in the book are not credible? You are correct that there is a lot of ignorance in this thread, but it's not from them book.
[quote]The CDC did not dub him Patient Zero. They called him Patient O, as in "Out of California."
No. It's Patient 0, as in "zero". If you're reading the wiki article, that's a zero, not an "O".
[quote] They tried to make it "Straights can get it too" but it wasn't that sort of virus. It needed direct access to the bloodstream -- something not often seen in straight sex.
Please go and spread your wisdom in places like Botswana and Swaziland where every third adult is HIV+. I am sure they will be delighted to learn they couldn't possibly have it since the virus is only being spread among gay men. Or, perhaps, those places are hotbeds of promiscuous gay sex and I just wasn't aware of that.
[R41] Though it was a slow start I think ... the government did a pretty good job in containing it.
That statement made my tainted blood boil.
The Shilts haters are right on schedule. To many of us it was pretty clear that the bathhouses were spreading AIDS. Any suggestion of that was cause for great uproar. First the baths, then the bars etc. Sides were drawn. Shilts was right, the baths were AIDS dispensaries.
AIDS is spreading among heterosexuals in Africa for several reasons, including:
Ritual female circumcision and genital injury, which causes a direct route for semen into the bloodstream, and exposes their partners to blood;
The fact that most men are uncircumcised. Foreskin is relatively fragile tissue that allows for fluid absorption during intercourse, and also traps fluid afterward;
Untreated STDs, which create genital injury and more pathways for disease transmission;
More exposure to blood in general, from the sharing of razors to tribal rites that involve blood.
[quote]Please go and spread your wisdom in places like Botswana and Swaziland where every third adult is HIV+. I am sure they will be delighted to learn they couldn't possibly have it since the virus is only being spread among gay men.
For Mr Spoiling for a Fight r89, let me pat your angry little pee pee in the way you mother always does and alter r86 to say: "something not often seen in straight WESTERN sex."
Any personal observations pinpointing when your friends first began to become ill? Sorry if this is too painful for some of you to discuss, but this era of gay history fascinates me. I was still a little queerling when AIDS came on the scene and was never as personally affected as those guys on the front lines in the early days.
Where do any epidemics come from? Where did smallpox originate? What about typhus? Cholera? We know how they are spread. We know hygiene has something to do with some disease. We know some diseases are more prevalent in certain parts of the world. Do we know where they started?
As long as you know what the disease is, how it is spread, how to avoid spreading it and what may possibly treat it, you're good. What difference does it make if it escaped from a monkey population? They used to think influenza came fom the alignment of the stars. Then they thought it came from swine. Now they say it comes from birds. What are we going to do, kill all the birds? Kill all the monkeys, all the cows, all the Haitians, all the sailors, all the gays, all the prostitutes, all the carriers of hemophilia and hepatitis?
R66: I recall that those blood samples were frozen and retested in the '80's. Based on the samples, results showed that upwards of 4% of the gay men in SF had been exposed to HIV in 1978.
The "O" in Patient Zero does stand for "out" (of California), not the numeral Zero. Bill Darrow, the epidemiologist quoted by Shilts later admitted his mistake in referencing this.
All the dentists?
[quote]Then they thought it came from swine. Now they say it comes from birds
That's not what is meant when things are called swine flu or avian flu.
The Voice of the Night
hmmm let's see how many of those 1000 who got Hepatitis B vaccinations in New York City in 1978 ended up with AIDS.
oh yeah that's right DOJ has those figures, for some reason it is considered a national security issue and they wont tell us
"A controlled, randomized, double-blind trial in 1,083 homosexual men from New York confirmed that a highly purified, formalin-inactivated vaccine against hepatitis B prepared from HBsAg positive plasma, is safe immunogenic, and highly efficacious. Over 95% of vaccinated subjects developed antibody against the surface antigen. Vaccine-induced antibody persisted for the entire 24-month follow-up period. The attack rate of all hepatitis B virus infections (excluding conversions of anti-HBc alone) was 3.2% in vaccine recipients compared with 25.6% in placebo recipients (p less than 0.0001). In those who received all three doses of vaccine, of 40 micrograms each, the protective efficacy rate was close to 100%. The vaccine protects against acute hepatitis B, asymptomatic infection, and chronic antigenemia. There is reason to assume that the vaccine is also partially effective when given postexposure."
lol I bet it was successful
[quote]Based on the samples, results showed that upwards of 4% of the gay men in SF had been exposed to HIV in 1978.
And among those who participated in the '78 hepatitis vaccine trials in NYC, the number was around 20%.
prove it r101
"Foreskin is relatively fragile tissue that allows for fluid absorption during intercourse, and also traps fluid afterward"
R82 is correct. Also, foreskin has extra glands - some of which make the infamous lubricant (the greatest component of the odor and taste we all love) and others which have extra white blood cells and other immunological agents (Langerhans cells). The latter facilitates infection, since HIV co-opts the immune system.
Whatever happened to the doctor who Matthew Modine played in the movie?
of course the rate in Africa is high, they injected MILLIONS of blacks with HIV through vaccinations
the easiest way you can tell that HIV/AIDS in Africa was a sudden event/onslaught is the fact that AIDS in Africa not only was unknown but DIDNT exist in the 1970's. The first cases of AIDS in nearly all african countries didnt occur until the early to mid 1980's
[quote]Whatever happened to the doctor who Matthew Modine played in the movie?
Don Francis started a biotech company called VaxGen that made unsuccessful clinical trials of an HIV vaccine called AIDSVAX (I think a few posters here were part of the trial). VaxGen got bought out by another company, and he left.
The Voice of the Night
Whatever became of ebola? Did it come and go?
For a while there we were terrorized with news reports of Africans bleeding from their eyeballs.
Did it just stop, mutate, or is it being ignored?
There's an on-going Ebola outbreak in Uganda.
It pops up every few years in Central Africa.
The Voice of the Night
Thank you R109,
what is your understanding of that virus?
"In 1969, when this all began, a Russian trained doctor Wolf Szmuness, was appointed the head of the New York City blood bank the world's largest blood bank. Keep in mind that he was a communist doctor and it was the middle of the Cold War. In 1978 Szmuness started recruiting young, white, gay and homosexual men for an experimental hepatitis B vaccine program. In order to participate the men had to be under age 40, which you will see why this is important in a minute, and they had to be in good health and have no previous exposure to hepatitis B. In the first study conducted in New York City 10,000 gay and bisexual men were recruited. By the end of the study in 1984, 56% of these test subjects had full blown AIDS. This is important because when conducting trials test subjects are divided in to two groups. Roughly half of test subjects are kept as controls while the other half receive the test substance, which explains why only 56% of the men had developed AIDS. Two larger tests were conducted at Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1980, and several smaller tests in St. Louis, Miami, and Denver. Note that every single original case of AIDS in the US were in participants of these vaccine programs and all of these cities were the original AIDS “hot spots” These facts were pointed out in several articles published in the medical journal Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Another interesting fact that can also be verified with a little research is that the men recruited for the experimental hepatitis vaccines had to be under the age of 40 to participate. And according to the ORIGINAL definition of AIDS set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the CDC claimed that a person could not have AIDS if they were over the age of 40. Kind of interesting that they would say this being that they supposedly did not know much of anything about AIDS when it first appeared. "
If Aids is spread easily through female genital mutilation, which I believe is true, than how come Arab Muslim women are not dying of Aids en masse?
I know they mostly die of breast cancer due to they're wearing burkas and not getting any sunlight on their bodies (no vitamin D) but they are subject to torn vaginal tissue like African women as well.
Arab (Muslim) men are almost always circumcised, R112. Perhaps that had something to do with the lower rates for Arab women, as opposed to Sub-Sarahan women.
Gorillas don't eat monkeys, but chimpanzees hunt and eat monkeys, and chimps and other primates are routinely hunted and eaten by humans. And, not to be racist about it, since cannibalism does happen occasionally throughout various human populations, but sub-Saharan Africa is sort of known for it.
then again Arab muslims never allowed the West to give them vaccinations en masse, they arent stupid like the Africans
[quote]Thank you [R109], what is your understanding of that virus?
Like HIV, it spreads through fluid contact. As it occurs naturally, it's not something you can catch by inhalation. It's thought that bats are carriers, and they serve as reservoirs--which actually makes sense, because it's the same class of virus as rabies. Generally, with proper sanitation and hygiene, it's hard to get an outbreak, but when you get into remote villages in Africa, it gets dicey.
The Voice of the Night
"Cruising" was sort of revolutionary in that it (along with the more mainstream Village People) promoted the mainstream image of gay men as handsome, physically powerful, and unashamed of their sexuality. It exchanged the stereotype of the furtive, effeminate ectomorph with the guy in the leather cap and handlebar mustache. Whether or not that was an improvement I don't know.
and lest we never forget the dangers of rabies. It still a killer in many countries, and was lethal in America not that long ago.
Rabies was the scourge of mankind for centuries.
Sorry about the childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool. I WAS talking about obsolete cultural stereotypes, though, not my own personal convictions, SHEESH.
Does anyone know what percent of the gay population in NYC in the 80s died of AIDS?
[quote]Thanks [R116], and lest we never forget the dangers of rabies. It still a killer in many countries, and was lethal in America not that long ago.
It's still lethal in the US if untreated.
Even though I don't work in a vets office or often get bitten by bats, I have an irrational fear of rabies. In all of human history, there are only 8 people known to have survived an untreated rabies infection.
The Voice of the Night
Wasn't untreated rabies the reason some people were considered possessed by devils in the bible?
And yes, I have read that maybe one or two people still die in America each year from rabies, and they are usually old men loner- types who live in the Ozarks and such.
I think about the Emily Rose Exorcism case and it looks like a rabies condition to me. They were rural people but at some point a doctor would have checked her out, no?
Rabies, animal bites and parasitic worms have kept me from devoting myself to dog and cat activism. I love the animals so much but can't afford to get sick.
R120: in San Francisco, approximately 20,000 died of AIDS. I don;t know what percentage of the gay population that is (terrible at math).
I read that approximately 100,000 New Yorkers (all boroughs) died of AIDS (through the '90's).
Rabies is almost always fatal. There have been less than ten cases in the entire history of the world where someone got it and didn't die. And of those they all survived with massive amounts of brain problems afterwards.
Further to r123's point, something that many fail to recognize is the number of deaths is easily comparable to any of the major wars of the last century. When you consider that most of these deaths were concentrated in the small gay community, it's a wonder we're not all a lot more damaged than we are. It sometimes feels like I have lived through some kind of war.
duh it was a war, they declared war on blacks and gays
I distinctly remember someone telling me about a friend, who had "the gay cancer" in Greenwich Village in 1974.
Is William Friedkin gay/bi? He directed "Boys in the Band" and "Cruising" at a time when other straight directors wouldn't have gone near them. And I know he's a huge Streisand fan. Maybe he and Sherry Lansing have some kind of arrangement.
Wasn't there some gossip being bandied about while Lansing was head of Fox that she was so cheap she stole toilet paper rolls from ladies restrooms?
I remember someone referring to AIDS as WOGS - Wrath of the Gods.
Was Lansing the beginning of the end for the Fox legacy of finer film or did she ever give us some real gems?
I remember Sherry Lansing having no toilet paper in her stall and I myself, had to wipe my ass with a ten dollar bill. Upon announcing my fate, Sherry asked if I could change a ten with two fives.
All the early cases have been debunked as laboratory contamination or other diseases involving reduced immunity - except for the Norwegian sailor and his wife. He actually first got sick in 1964. The first death that seemed to be related to the general outbreak was of a Danish lesbian NGO worker in the Congo in 1977. There were instances of mass death from wasting diseases affecting humans such as at a Congo chimp research station in 1957, but there were no recorded mass outbreaks in central Africa before the mass outbreak of HIV in New York City beginning in 1978 after the Hepatitis B vaccine trials, which were then rolled out to six other cities. Indeed, it appears that South Africa, not Central Africa, was the primary disease vector in Africa. It was also in Southern Africa that the Haitian and Cuban mercenaries probably picked it up.
In the Hep B trial, the cohort were to be sexually active gay men ONLY. The program was run by Polish Jew who had been interred in a Soviet gulag and was received help defecting from the Polish cardinal who later became pope. How he got to be head of the New York City blood bank in just a few years has never really been explained. He died of cancer in 1982, but he had already been given a festive welcome back in the Soviet Union, an honor not otherwise accorded to recent defectors in the Brezhnev era.
Computer modelling of HIV's variability, to try to take in back to the 1930s or earlier is not science but fantasy.
The irreducible fact is that in 1969 the US government asked for $10 million to create a virus attacking the immune system, and they were given the money. They estimated it could be up and running in 10 years. I don't know why there is such a hysterical need on this board to pretend that this isn't the likeliest explanation for what happened (or that it was done by an enemy of the U.S. working on their own program). You all just seem kind of dumb.
Cheryl is now stealing from Tallulah.
R133: The federal government is incapable of keeping anything secret.
r106 that is untrue.
Even professionals who are proponents of a relatively recent origin, i.e., spillover/mutation from SIVcpz to humans acknowledge that upheaval and colonial rule make it impossible to be definitive.
Even with phylogenetics, there are still huge gaps in the record.
1.) I went to work at NYU medical center in 1985. We were made to understand that if we did not get the Hep B vaccine, we would not get off probation. NYU developed the Hep B vaccine from primarily gay men in the village and in 1985, the vaccine was live. We were injected with live virus three times. If we showed fear we were asked, "Do you want to work here or not? It's up to you." I had moved to NYC and had my housing through NYUMC. It was at the end if orientation that they started injecting us. After orientation we were on probation for 3 to 5 months.
If I lived in NYC I would have said no. But I was a new arrival; didn't know anyone or anything. Was broke after college. Poor family. I needed a job and a place to live. So I got the live Hep B virus three times.
2.) Rabies could be greatly reduced with bait programs. They have been used in Europe and have helped bring down the number of rabid raccoons, dogs etc. Drop baits with tje vaccine in it over forests and known areas.
3.) Largest carrier of rabies in the US today? Kitty cats.
R133 If you understood anything about biology and science, you would understand how stupid the "goverment created AIDS" meme is.
R135 is just an idiot.
The federal government of the US keeps secets successfully for decades.
R139 Really? Name some. Seriously. Lets hear what "secrets" the government kept for years.
Forget the Catholic Church and the damages claims from abuse victims, can you imagine how much would be at stake if it could ever be proved that the AIDS virus was in fact produced by the U.S. Army and knowingly introduced into the gay and black communities?
It created a global holocaust on a scale even bigger than the Nazis. The "Mengeles" and "Himmlers" responsible for it would be hunted to their graves and the U.S. Treasury would be bankrupted trying to make reparation.
R133's post is somewhat compelling. The complete lack of any backup citations plus the name-calling really weakens it though.
There was that Tuskegee thing where black men were intentionally infected with syphilis and left untreated in order to study the disease. If AIDS is a latter-day manifestation of that kind of governmental hate-crime, then some bitches better start researching and making a legal case.
If you look at it like a statistics/math problem, the idea of pinpointing exactly when the epidemic arrived on US soil is absurd.
Some of the sexually active gay men in the mid to late 1970s who ended up with AIDS, had thousands of sex partners. Thousands. Some of them were internationally well traveled. So, sure it could have started on US soil via the Bicentennial sailors convention. Or it could have been some gay guy named Francois or Dave or Miguel or Vanos or whatever, who brought it here 1:1 from wherever he got it from, and then he barebacked 200 men in the following year and 20 of them seroconverted, and those 20 men barebacked a total of 2000 men in the following year and 200 of them seroconverted, and they barebacked 20000 men in the following year and 2000 of them seroconverted.
Jesus R141. That's chilling. I wish it were more surprising. The government can absolutely keep a secret. Look at all that Operation Northwoods shit. They don't love us, they aren't even indifferent to us. They look at us as farmer looks at his cows. Sell 'em at auction if they start costing you too much money.
It's likely no coincidence that Lyme disease came from Southern Connecticut just opposite the military's animal disease research station.
Are you all implying intent or just a major fuck up in the NYC Hep B vaccine situation? It sure seems like rounding up sexually active gay men to harvest blood products for vaccines could certainly have introduced HIV into the distribution, but I get the impression that some want to say it was either added or somehow introduced to the gay men.
I'd say that was absurd except for the introduction of LSD to unknowing victims that we know happened in the sixties.
Still waiting to hear about all these secrets the government has been keeping from us. So far the only thing that has been presented are links to one article that clearly say there is no proof to back up the claim.
Tests on army and civilian unwitting people were routine.
Look at the religious nuts who still inhabit the government. They still call AIDS a punishment from God. Remember when Reagan's press secretary LAUGHED when asked about AIDS for the first time? He laughed and said "I don't have AIDS, hahaha Do you? Hahahaha"
Since 2001 the US military has spent $60 BILLION on "biodefense." They say they have "nothing to show for it," which means either the money was stolen or they have created offensive bioterror weapons of amazing power that they now want to hide.
One particularly disastrous experiment from that article:
"In 1955, the CIA conducted a biological warfare experiment where they released whooping cough bacteria from boats outside of Tampa Bay, Florida, causing a whooping cough epidemic in the city, and killing at least 12 people"
So if the development of AIDS is a government conspiracy, why haven't whistleblowers come forward? Why isn't it an item in the article at R158?
Tens of thousands of military, researchers and government officials would know about such a program over the years. Many of them would have loved ones who were unintentionally killed by a manmade virus gone awry, or would have other reasons to be disgruntled with the government. Not one of them leaked the story to the press?
I don't buy it.
R160 you're an idiot. None of these experiments required more than a few people to implement.
Tens of thousands of people knew about the atomic bomb. A virus in a lab can be disseminated by about three people.
Here's another heinous one from that same article
"In 1957, with funding from a CIA front organization, Dr. Ewan Cameron of the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, Canada began MKULTRA Subproject 68. His experiments were designed to first "depattern" individuals, erasing their minds and memories—reducing them to the mental level of an infant—and then to "rebuild" their personality in a manner of his choosing. To achieve this, Cameron placed patients under his "care" into drug-induced comas for up to 88 days, and applied numerous high voltage electric shocks to them over the course of weeks or months, often administering up to 360 shocks per person. He would then perform what he called "psychic driving" experiments on the subjects, where he would repetitively play recorded statements, such as "You are a good wife and mother and people enjoy your company", through speakers he had implanted into blacked-out football helmets that he bound to the heads of the test subjects (for sensory deprivation purposes). The patients could do nothing but listen to these messages, played for 16–20 hours a day, for weeks at a time. In one case, Cameron forced a person to listen to a message non-stop for 101 days. Using CIA funding, Cameron converted the horse stables behind Allen Memorial into an elaborate isolation and sensory deprivation chamber which he kept patients locked in for weeks at a time. Cameron also induced insulin comas in his subjects by giving them large injections of insulin, twice a day for up to two months at a time. Several of the children who Cameron experimented on were sexually abused, in at least one case by several men. One of the children was filmed numerous times performing sexual acts with high-ranking federal government officials, in a scheme set up by Cameron and other MKULTRA researchers, to blackmail the officials to ensure further funding for the experiments."
Nothing has changed. Many medical Doctors are sadists and killers by nature.
"In August 2010, the U.S. weapons manufacturer Raytheon announced that it had partnered with a jail in Castaic, California in order to use prisoners as test subjects for a new non-lethal weapon system that "fires an invisible heat beam capable of causing unbearable pain"
I'll say it again. A virus can change and mutate itself. People who put their theories out there need to be aware of this fact. Nobody is to blame. Nobody is out to exterminate a group of people.
A VIRUS IS CAPABLE OF MUTATING ITSELF
There's a fascinating book about that one R162
What R164 said.
And: If the military were planning to develop AIDS as a secret to be known only by "three people in a lab," military officials would not have TESTIFIED BEFORE CONGRESS about the plan and seeking funding for it, getting their comments published in the Congressional Record:
Right R164. Do you remember when Zappa went on about AIDS being curated in a lab by the government? Like people don't know gays have slept with straight people especially back in the day. So tired of celebs and other people taking a platform to speak about such things. Any first year med student KNOWS a virus can change and mutate itself. There's no conspiracy theories regarding AIDS. People forget that straight people have relatives and friends who are gay. People blabbing on about gays have a gay ancestor down the line somewhere. Everyone is a product of a homosexual at some point. Everyone has an ancestor who was raised by a non-biological parent at some point. This reminds me of people who judge those who were adopted. At some point, in the last couple of hundred years they're from someone who was adopted. Just ignore these delusional people. They're holding us all back. Let's march on without them.
[quote] A virus in a lab can be disseminated by about three people.
Not really. It's a hell of a lot harder to start a lethal epidemic than you think. Ask the Japanese who repeatedly bombed china with various plagues in WWII. Altogether only about 200,000 died and this included people who were directly killed by handing out poison candy, by water supplies that were deliberately contaminated, poisoned wells, agriculture sprayed with poison and bacteria and viruses; cities that were bombed with plague, smallpox, anthrax, botulism, cholera, dysentery. Contaminated clothing and food supplies were dropped throughout the countryside. Contaminated grenades were also use.
200,000 isn't a large number of Chinese for all the trouble the Japanese went to. We killed more Japanese in two bombing raids than Japan killed in China through countless attempts to sicken and poison the population from the air, ground and the water.
Take some epidemiology courses in college. When you look into real epidemics, you will see how so many factors are involved in creating an epidemic and how unpredictable things are.
Whatever. After receiving the live hep b vax developed on gay men from the village in the late 70s/early 80s, I have neither Hep B nor HIV.
YOU MEAN TO SAY THERE ARE SO MANY SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES AND THESE SHITS FOR SCIENTISTS C.A.N.N.O.T. FIND A CURE FOR THIS FUCKING DISEASE YET????????????? THE PHARMA JUST WANT TO HAVE SICK PEOPLE BUYING DRUGS THAT TAKE CARE OF THE SYMPTOMS AND NOT THE DISEASE TO KEEP THEM GETTING RICH!!!
Your shouting aside, it's not easy to "cure" viral diseases, particularly one caused by a lentivirus like HIV. The best cure for a virus is a vaccine.
Most antiviral drugs work by interrupting the viral life cycle. That means that the person is still infected with the virus, but the development of new viral particles is arrested and the virus burns itself out. HIV's trick is that it inserts itself into the person's own DNA. Even on HAART therapy, a person still has infected cells, and in order to actually cause the infected cells to be cleared by the body, you'd have to design a drug that would selectively go after only the infected cells, leaving the uninfected ones alone. Otherwise, you're just going to end up causing the condition you're trying to prevent.
The Voice of the Night
Viruses can and do mutate by themselves. But at no period in history have we seen a comparable cascade of new viruses. True, the world is more populous and connected than before, but the biggest change is the global biological arms race, dwarfing other factors into insignificance.
You made no reaction to the number - $60 billion - that has been spent in the last decade by the USA on biowar "defense." You do realize that's probably as much as has been spent on HIV research in thirty years?
[quote] But at no period in history have we seen a comparable cascade of new viruses.
Is that really so surprising? The life expectancy is longer than ever in history. We are no longer killed by natural predators (wolves, grizzly bears, malaria carrying mosquitos...) and we no longer die from stepping on rusty nails, blood infections from bad dental hygiene, famine, etc. Cancers are diagnosed earlier and many of them are treatable, as is heart disease. No population can increase beyond sustainable levels; we are due for some major epidemic.
[quote]But at no period in history have we seen a comparable cascade of new viruses.
For most of history we didn't even know virus existed. That's like saying the moons of Jupiter aren't real because for most of our history we never saw them.
I remember there was an uproar when it was learned that he was HIV positive. It could have been when he died, which was apx six years after he wrote ATBPO. I know he did another book about gays in the military just a few years after, so it seemed he was in hurry to get work out, and didn't want to say why.
I believe the federal gov't can do things that are detrimental, that they can be stupid, and the Tuskegee experiments are deplorable and shameful.
But I do not believe the U.S. gov't deliberately, and with malice and forethought developed the AIDS virus and/or caused it to be injected and spread thru a specific population. That is just nonsense. They may have inadvertently caused it's spread thru ignorance, but not deliberately.
If you want to hold the federal gov't to account, lets look at the hundreds of thousands, the millions who died of AIDS in America and the fact that our gov't did nothing to research the spread of the disease nor commit resources towards a cure.
Ronald Reagan couldn't even say the name of it. Our behavior was despicable and disgraceful in the 80's & for a large part of the 90's. That,IMO, is where the culpability lies.
When you look at how people were treated, police and EMS workers who refused to assist, nurses and doctors who refused to treat. We went thru hell.Even in restaurants and bars, wait staff treated us like we were vermin. Literally. Anyone who was gay was considered a plague carrier.
The lack of information and the criminal stupidity and negligence is where I zero in on the federal gov't. I don't need any cooked up conspiracy theories complete with Russians spies and communists. Sheesh.
"cooked up"? Not cooked up. They asked for money to develop a virus that attacks immunity and they were given the money. That's not a theory, that's a fact. The only question is if they ever did it or if HIV coincidentally came along in the same time frame. What part of that don't you believe?