Patient Zero Did Not Bring AIDS To US As HIV Arrived In New York In 1970

Posted: Oct 27 2016, 8:14am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 27 2016, 8:23am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Patient Zero Did Not Bring AIDS to US
A combination of historical and genetic research reveals the error and hype that led to the coining of the term 'Patient Zero' and the blaming of one man for the spread of HIV across North America. Credit: Getty Images
  • The AIDS Epidemic did not Spread through Patient Zero Gaëtan Dugas
  • HIV Epidemic Started Spreading in New York in 1970
 

Apparently, the AIDS epidemic did not spread through Patient Zero whose name is Gaëtan Dugas. This has been a myth that took a long time in being debunked.

A flight attendant,Gaëtan Dugas, who became the center of the Patient Zero AIDS controversy in the 80s, seems to just have been one of the thousands that contracted the deadly disease.

The research work for this was done by a historian. This patient was a French-Canadian gay man who was blamed by the media for being responsible for the spreading of the HIV epidemic in America. Yet such is hardly the case.  

Patient Zero, as he was called, has by now become a catchword for the starting point of any disease. Whether it is Ebola or Swine Flu, every disease is supposed to have its Typhoid Mary who ought to be quarantined before the disease spreads any further.

Before his death from AIDS, the flight attendant provided a wealth of personal data to investigators regarding how he was infected and what the whole matter was really about. Yet the term “Patient Zero” stuck and it refuses to go away even now.

The widespread prejudice and notoriety that this man faced due to the blame being dumped on him is something for which there are no excuses. He was in fact not the sole carrier of AIDS. Thousands of others were involved in spreading the HIV epidemic. 

This man was demonized to the point where his life was made a living hell. Whereas now that scientists have compared his blood samples with the blood samples of various other AIDS sufferers, they know better.

He was not at fault here. He has been mistaken to be Patient Zero. It may have been a big mistake yet nevertheless it was a mistake. 

In 1982, there were several historical links between many gay men in Los Angeles. The CDC carried out experiments to see how the epidemic spread in the first place.

Once the early sufferers of this epidemic were found, their contacts with others like themselves were tallied. The man named Patient Zero died in 1984. Yet he had so many contacts that it couldn’t be said with surety whether he gave them the AIDS virus or got it from them.

The media circus only fanned the flames and added to the defamation of this unfortunate man. Going into the origins of an illness is not an easy job. There are simply too many variables and factors that go into the mix.  

The findings of this research got published in the journal Nature.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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