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Scientists: One Haitian Immigrant Brought AIDS to US in 1969

And that one Haitian immigrant with AIDS led to the deaths of 25 million people. From Reuters:

The AIDS virus invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic, scientists said on Monday.

Michael Worobey, a University of Arizona evolutionary biologist, said the 1969 U.S. entry date is earlier than some experts had believed.

The timeline laid out in the study led by Worobey indicates that HIV infections were occurring in the United States for roughly 12 years before AIDS was first recognized by scientists as a disease in 1981. Many people had died by that point.

"It is somehow chilling to know it was probably circulating for so long under our noses," Worobey said in a telephone interview.

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.


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Comments (22)

You mean it wasn't Ronald R... (Below threshold)
Paul:

You mean it wasn't Ronald Reagan's fault? The liberals said it was, so it must have been, right?

My memory isn't what it onc... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

My memory isn't what it once was, but I seem to remember this case was made in the 70's. The catholic church brought in a bunch of numskulls and hid them out in the basement of a church in SF. With those supposedly excaping poverty/persecution came AIDS, and it spread rather quickly due to the culture of SF. You know, a lot of rear end collisions. Someone is warming up old news and pretending they just discovered it.

This begs for immigration r... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

This begs for immigration regulations to be enforced (finally).

they didnt say how the Hait... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

they didnt say how the Haitian caught the AIDS. As I understand it, Castro was hiring Haitians to fight his proxy wars in Africa. There, AIDS was started by having sex with monkeys. African males passed it on to Haitian males. I had previously understood that it was an American vacationing in Haiti that contracted AIDS from a Haitian and brought it to the states so I'm not sure its as much an imigration issue as it is a personnal hygiene issue. Just my 2 cents worth.

Wow, GeminiChuck! You live... (Below threshold)
ijosha:

Wow, GeminiChuck! You live in a very strange and frightening world, don't you? Monkey (butt?) sex indeed!

Here is a list of the (more accepted?) theories I have heard.

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV): Medical research using live polio cultured from chimp kidney cells, given to around 1 million Congolese... a strong possibility except that the only surviving culture (frozen, recently discovered) was found to not have any trace of SIV/HIV.

"Hunter": Chimps with SIV hunted and butchered, with blood contamination/ transfer through wounds in the hunter (for instance a very bad cut in their hand). Barely plausible, impossible to prove. And how did the infection then get so quickly and widely distributed from the hunter(s)? ...

Contaminated Needle: Really an "extension" of the hunter theory -- this is one of the ones used to answer the question above... the widespread re-use of contaminated needles got the stuff out of the hunters and into lots of other people.

Colonialism: another Hunter and contaminated needle theory extension -- the onset of colonialism and the large labor camps that were coming into existence at the time nicely coincides with the believed transfer of SIV and evolution into HIV. The unhealthful conditions and (again) poor medical practices then became a factor in the "explosion".

Conspiracy: Except to point out that this is a variant of the OPV theory, I'm sure we don't have to go into any detail with this one.

Now for my own wrinkle -- There was a fairly large resident contingent of Haitians brought in by the UN (UNOUC), working in government, administrative, and medical capacities, as well as within the UN troops. I can very much accept in theory that through one of the medical needle scenarios above and very possibly through sexual contact with infected Congolese, the disease then vectored it's way back to Haiti and the US.

well, I only know what I re... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

well, I only know what I read - I'll certainly defer to the experts on this one!

And it wasnt a creation of ... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

And it wasnt a creation of conservatives to get rid of gay wacks ether
depp=true

Thanks for the info ijosha.... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Thanks for the info ijosha. It still does not explain why men who screw other men in the butt seem to have the highest probability to contract AIDS. Maybe the folks at the Folsom Street Fair can explain.

All the open borders folks ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

All the open borders folks love to tout how we took in millions of immigrants in the 1900's. What they do not say is ALL of them had to go through a physical check up. No diseases? You're in. Infectious? You're out. Now here in Texas, we have an old disease back. Tuberculosis. Thanks open border supporters. ww

This story about a "patient... (Below threshold)

This story about a "patient zero" should act as a serious warning of the real scientific threat of diseases to threaten mankind. All immigration issues aside, this is a serious human tragedy.

they didnt say how... (Below threshold)
they didnt say how the Haitian caught the AIDS. As I understand it, Castro was hiring Haitians to fight his proxy wars in Africa.

Hmmm... I haven't heard this. What I heard when I had to take a "health" class to finish up my college degree in 1989 was:

--AIDS can indeed be traced to Africa

--in particular, Zaire

--the Haitians were there as the primary contingent of a UN peacekeeping force

--if you look at the gay male sub-culture in America circa the early 70s, you find that the number one "exotic vacation" recommendation among them was: Haiti. (why this particular locale was so popular among homosexual men was not explained)

--nothing was explained about butt sex with monkeys, but the non-human origin of AIDS was alluded to.

So the path of the disease was from Zaire to Haitain UN troops to homosexual males in Haiti who then brought it to the United States.

So are they saying "Robert ... (Below threshold)
Not Tony:

So are they saying "Robert R." of St. Louis was Haitian?

Sounds like they are re-wri... (Below threshold)
KB:

Sounds like they are re-writing history to make it PC. It takes 5 years or so to go from HIV to AID. And the first cases were in the early 80's That would put it back to around 1977. But let's blame a Haitian immigrant.

Now doesn't that sound so much better that blaming our new favored lifestyle?

Here's another artical.... (Below threshold)
rick13:
I remember the joke from th... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

I remember the joke from the 80s (yes, I heard it in a gay bar)
Q: What's the worst thing about getting AIDS?
A: Explaining to your mother that you're Haitian.

So no, saying a Haitian brought it in isn't "rewriting history", it's explaining why it was so prevalent in the Haitian community.

As for the gay community, gay sex lends itself to passing on AIDS, what with the tearing of membranes not designed for sexual contact, and gay men are generally promiscuous.

The pick up line in a gay bar is pretty much, "You wanna?". Think about it, it's all guys. They know that the other guy wants it bad and isn't all that picky about where his dips his wick.
Before you call me homophobic, know that I'm talking from experience. Before you get your rocks off trying to insult me by calling me gay, know that I am very secure and I always laugh at insults like that. It means you've lost the debate and are lashing out.

Veeshir, I had no idea wome... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Veeshir, I had no idea women's rectal membranes were more elastic than those of men. And KB, you should go tell the fastest growing AIDS-infected demographic, single women, that gay men are responsible for their illness (and not the careless one-night stand/dirty needle/busted condom/rapist). You know, there's a difference between people who eschew political correctness, and people who say stupid things for the fun of it.

A Haitian might've brought AIDS to North America? So what? If he hadn't, someone else would have. What lovely cocktail of illnesses did Columbus et al inflict upon indigenous peoples here? (I know, disease theory was waaaaay off the mark in the 15th century, but there was no consensus on AIDS until the early-mid-80s. Some doctors still thought gay sex caused the illness, rather than transmitted it, when my uncle got it in 1982.)

Oh, and Wild Willie: what w... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Oh, and Wild Willie: what would screening every person who set foot in the US for diseases in 1969 have done to prevent the outbreak of HIV/AIDS?

hyperbolist the statistics ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

hyperbolist the statistics moron: "..And KB, you should go tell the fastest growing AIDS-infected demographic, single women, ..."

Cite absolute numbers please, since it's clear that you either know zero about statistics or, more likely, are advancing a disingenuous argument.

ie, if 1 single woman had HIV/AIDS last year, and this year another single woman contracted it, that would represent a 100% increase in the RATE of HIV/AIDS in single women.

More likely, the rate of HIV/AIDS in the gay population has plateau-ed or something like it (for a number or reasons), while it creeps incrementally up in other categories of individuals (such as single women).

So, again Hyperbolist, please cite in ABSOLUTE NUMBERS the number of single women who have contracted HIV/AIDS.

Further, (and even more importantly), how many of those single women contracted HIV/AIDS through sex with STRICTLY heterosexual men (vs single women who have sex with men who are bi-sexual) and who do not engage in prostitution.

That would be a much more relevant number, and one you're not likely to quote as it would undermine completely your sophomoric "analysis" of the situation.

BTW hyperbolist, that whole "Aids is breaking out into the heterosexual community!!!" line was bandied about quite abit throughout the 90's. It never materialized.

But hey, why let facts get in the way of your "facts".

Where would one find number... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Where would one find numbers on whether or not women's sexual partners engaged in homosexual acts or solicited themselves as prostitutes?

I did mean rate, or percentage, when I referred to single women. Of course the volume of infected men is higher. Your tone, when you talk about how hetero-contraction of the disease was "bandied about", suggests that you're upset that a competing narrative. Specifically, you seem upset that AIDS isn't only a gay problem.

that *there is* a competing... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

that *there is* a competing narrative, that is.

Veeshir, I had no idea w... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Veeshir, I had no idea women's rectal membranes were more elastic than those of men
Yeah, cuz the only way men have sex with women is in the butt.

hyperbolist: "Specifically,... (Below threshold)
Drago:

hyperbolist: "Specifically, you seem upset that AIDS isn't only a gay problem."

hmmmm, I'm not surprised you pulled that canard out as quickly as you could. If I understood as little about numbers as you obviously do, I might be tempted to throw out assertions like that as well (were I alot les intellectually honest than I am, that is.)

No, what I'm "irritated" about (not "upset") is the misuse of statistics in order to drive home a political point.

Stats, when used properly, often affords us some mind-blowing insights (I know as I use them everyday in my "real-world" occupation where the validity of my analysis is the difference between being hired or let go by clients.)

It's important to understand as fully as possible what's actually occurred and is ocurring regarding the transmittal of diseases such as HIV in order to more properly address those issues.

Unfortunately, a long time ago the left (yes, the left) made a political decision to state publicly over and over that all individuals, regardless of circumstance, were equally at risk of contracting HIV. This was, and remains, false.

More importantly, the bastardization of the numbers has actually allowed some segments of the gay population to view unfavorably, actions that might have saved their lives.

BTW, my brother in law died of AIDS, so I will assure that I'm hardly sanquine about the subject.

One more note, your use of the word "narrative" does indeed tell me quite abit about where your coming from. Unfortunately for you, your "narrative" happens to be at odds with the mathematically reality.





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