Origin of HIV/AIDS
There have been numerous controversies, revolving around the origin of HIV/AIDS. Many well-known scientists have been brain-teased and puzzled for decades over the origin of HIV/AIDS since its emergence in early 1980s. For over twenty five years now, ferocious debates and arguments have surrounded this matter. Countless suggestions and theories have been developed to clarify this bewildering issue. Although up to date, nobody knows the exact truth about the source of HIV/AIDS, numerous theories have been formulated to explain its origin. Some of these theories are the hunter theory, conspiracy theory, contaminated needle theory and colonialism theory (Feldman & Miller, 1998).
First, there is the fascinating “hunter theory”, which postulates that human beings, who were alleged to be of African origin, got infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as they were preparing a chimpanzee for food. The chimpanzee happened to have Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, which is similar to HIV virus. However, this theory has been refuted by recent medical scientists who claim that the HIV virus could not be transmitted that way.
Secondly, the oral polio vaccine theory was developed in a symposium in Royal Society, London. During the symposium, it was thought that HIV virus must have originated from oral polio vaccine, which was developed from monkeys. However, the delegates at the symposium later disagreed on the possibility of transmission of the virus from monkeys to human beings (Levy, 2008).
The colonialism theory suggests that HIV/AIDS resulted from poor living conditions that prevailed in colonial and slavery camps during the colonial period. It explains that this filthy and unhealthy environment made the slaves’ immune systems weak and they consequently became vulnerable to infections. Moreover, the colonialists could use unsterilized needles on the slaves. This happened in certain parts of Africa, where colonialists were received harshly, for example, in Democratic Republic of Congo (Falola & Heaton, 2007).
Another theory that tries to explain the origin of HIV/AIDS is the contaminated needle theory, which is an extension of the hunter theory. The theory suggests that HIV/AIDS was spread in Africa through use of plastic syringes to inject multiple patients. This could have happened without proper sterilization, thereby infecting the numerous people. HIV/AIDS could be easily transferred from one person to another. The major weakness of this theory is that it only explains how the virus was spread, without elaborating its original source.
The conspiracy theory, on the other hand, suggests that HIV/AIDS was man-made. Some scientists believe that HIV/AIDS was manufactured as a biological weapon to be used during warfare to wipe out large population of blacks and homosexuals.
AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, which is believed to have originated from non-human primates in sub-Saharan Africa. It was transferred to humans between late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. However, most medical researchers have agreed that HIV evolution was simultaneous to the evolution of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which was later transferred to humans through zoonosis.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that there are various unresolved issues, surrounding the emergence and origin of HIV/AIDS. For instance, there is no explanation of why only four types of HIV groups have been spreading in human beings. It is also unclear why all the epidemic HIV groups emerged in humans nearly simultaneously. Additionally, there are no reasons given as to why the spread of HIV/AIDS begun only in the twentieth century, yet human beings were exposed to simian immunodeficiency virus several years ago.
Demographics of Origin
According to Beatrice Hahn and Paul Sharp, HIV/AIDS epidemic mirrors and replicates changes in population structure and behavior, especially in Africa during the twentieth century (Falola & Heaton, 2007). Certain theories argue that HIV/AIDS do not exist and that Aids is not caused by HIV. The proponents of these theories believed that HIV/AIDS is caused by an individual’s lifestyles, for example, sexuality and drug use. Additionally, certain conspiracy theories believe that HIV/AIDS was manufactured in a laboratory to be used as a weapon for use in genocide. However, these theories have been rejected by world’s prominent scientists through a consensus.
There are two types of HIV viruses that affect human beings, that is, HIV-1 and HIV-2. Medical researchers have shown that HIV-1 virus is more vituperative, dangerous and can be easily transmitted. It is the cause of majority of HIV infections globally. HIV/AIDS is believed to predominate mainly in Africa. However, this is not the case. HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic. It affects all nations around the globe. For instance, in the USA, the first case of HIV infection was reported in early 1980s. It was believed the most affected people are the gay men.
Currently, HIV/AIDS produces a huge number of deaths annually amongst children and youths. Past medical data reveals that more than half of the deaths, caused by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa occur in men, while approximately seventy percent of such deaths in India occur in women (Holmberg, 2008). Additionally, the World Health Organization estimates that the average age of people who die of HIV/AIDS ranges from fifteen years to forty five years (Holmberg, 2008). It is believed that HIV/AIDS deaths are generally inclined towards the men. More often than not, most men die of HIV/AIDS than their female counterparts. The death rate is high among the youth due to their lifestyles, especially sexual behaviors that increase their exposure as well as excessive drug use.