BBC NEWS | Health | HIV origin 'found in wild chimps'Humans may have contracted SIV before, but it never made the transition into an epidemic -- the victims would have died without passing on the disease. In 1930 it began the long ascent to its current pandemic status.
The origin of HIV has been found in wild chimpanzees living in southern Cameroon, researchers report.
A virus called SIVcpz (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from chimps) was thought to be the source, but had only been found in a few captive animals.
Now, an international team of scientists has identified a natural reservoir of SIVcpz in animals living in the wild.
It is thought that people hunting chimpanzees first contracted the virus - and that cases were first seen in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the nearest urban area - in 1930.
I was in medical school when HTLV-III was identified, I grew up in the pre-AIDS era. Things were different then.