The day HIV was discovered – level 3

23-04-1984

In 1981, five men from Los Angeles were reported to have a rare type of skin disease. No treatment worked. They were all homosexuals and all of them were on drugs.

The disease was found to be transmitted during sexual intercourse. Later, other ways of transmission were discovered – shared syringes, blood transfusions, or mother-to-child transmission. The mysterious disease was named AIDS.

On April 23, 1984, doctors announced that AIDS was caused by a virus called HIV.

In 1989, scientists discovered that HIV was a mutated virus that humans got from African monkeys. They presumed that the virus was transmitted to monkey hunters sometime in the first half of the 20th century. Then, tourists who went to Africa brought it to America. This theory was later questioned. There is still speculation about the exact origin of the disease.

32 million people have already died of HIV worldwide since the beginning of the epidemic.

Difficult words: rare (not happening very often), transmit (to send from one person to another), sexual intercourse (the act of having sex), syringe (an instrument for taking blood), presume (to think that something is true when you are not fully sure).

What do you think about this day?

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