The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

nine year old wants to know how HIV started.
Jan 2, 2001

I have a nine (9) year old son who has just asked me how did HIV start. My answer must not have answered what he wants to know. Could you please send me information that will help me to explain this to him?

Response from Dr. Dieterich

This is not an easy one to answer in 25 words or less and there is still some controversy about it. However the basic idea is that HIV is a zoönosis, that is an animal disease that passed into humans. Probably in Africa a virus called SIV or simian (meaning monkey)immunodeficiency virus got into a human hunter of monkeys. Or perhaps someone who was cleaning a monkey body getting ready to cook it cut themselves with a knife and got monkey blood into their blood stream. This probably happened in the early part of the 20th century exactly when is controversial, but the RNA (like DNA for viruses) evidence for this is quite strong. The virus then multiplied and was transmitted sexually between people and from mothers to infants. It probably spread then to Haiti and then to New York, San Francisco and Paris and then the rest of the world. DTD


  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint