The majority of HIV researchers agree that HIV evolved at some point from the closely related simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and that SIV or HIV (post mutation) was transferred from non-human primates to humans in the recent past (as a type of zoonosis).
Research in this area is conducted using molecular phylogenetics, comparing viral genomic sequences to determine relatedness.
Hydeia contracted HIV at birth from a drug addicted mother, was later adopted and cared for by a family in Vegas and has went on to become an international HIV activist since first appearing on Oprah at age 6.
Scientists generally accept that the known strains (or groups) of HIV-1 are most closely related to the simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) endemic in wild ape populations of West Central African forests.
In particular, each of the known HIV-1 strains is either closely related to the SIV that infects the chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes (SIVcpz) or closely related to the SIV that infects western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), called SIVgor.
Between 19, the rate of HIV infection in women age 50 to 59 rose 56 percent. According to the CDC, 20 percent of the 1.1 million American men and women living with HIV/AIDS do not know they have the disease.
For women 60 to 65 years old, the rate of infection rose 53 percent. Experts believe the percentage is higher among those over 50, due to a lack of education and testing in that population.
California mother and grandmother Nell Davis, 64, doesn’t fit any of the past profiles of those at high risk.
But she has become one of the new faces of the disease and was recently featured in the PBS documentary Endgame.
Davis was a divorcee who met and married a “nice man from the church.” While on their honeymoon, Davis says, she started to feel ill with symptoms she could not shake.
Later, “I found his HIV test results hidden in his Bible,” she says, adding that the date of the test “told me that he knew he was HIV positive well before we got married, but he never said anything.” (MORE: HIV/AIDS and People Over 50) Women over 50 make up 10 percent of all women living with HIV.
December was AIDS Awareness Month, a time to remind the country that, despite advancements in treatment, the threat of developing HIV/AIDS is still very real.