Aids is caused by a human immunodeficiency virus hiv which originated in non human primates in central and west africawhile various sub groups of the virus acquired human infectivity at different times the global pandemic had its origins in the emergence of one specific strain hiv 1 subgroups m in leopoldville in the belgian congo now kinshasa in the democratic republic of the . Aids aids the origin of hiv details of the origin of hiv remain unclear however a lentivirus that is genetically similar to hiv has been found in chimpanzees and gorillas in western equatorial africa that virus is known as simian immunodeficiency virus siv and it was once widely thought to be harmless in chimpanzees. The origin of the human immunodeficiency virus hiv has been a subject of scientific research and debate since the virus was identified in the 1980s there is now a wealth of evidence on how when and where hiv first began to cause illness in humans. In virus hunt renowned virologist dorothy h crawford takes us inside one of the great research quests of our time the search for the origin of aids from hospital intensive care wards to research laboratories to the african rain forests crawford follows the trail of the virus back to its roots deep in africa
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