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Genetic Analysis Shows HIV Came To U.S. Via Haiti In Early 1970s, Long Before Identification Of First AIDS Cases, ‘Patient Zero’

The Atlantic: How One Man Was Wrongly Blamed for Bringing AIDS to America
“HIV arrived in the U.S. from Haiti a decade before the first cases were identified — and well before the so-called Patient Zero contracted the virus…” (Yong, 10/26).

New York Times: HIV Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’
“In the tortuous mythology of the AIDS epidemic, one legend never seems to die: Patient Zero, a.k.a. Gaétan Dugas, a globe-trotting, sexually insatiable French-Canadian flight attendant who supposedly picked up HIV in Haiti or Africa and spread it to dozens, even hundreds, of men before his death in 1984. … But after a new genetic analysis of stored blood samples, bolstered by some intriguing historical detective work, scientists on Wednesday declared him innocent…” (McNeil, 10/26).

NPR: Researchers Clear ‘Patient Zero’ From AIDS Origin Story
“…The scientists also sequenced the virus from eight other men infected with HIV during the 1970s. From these genetic codes, the scientists estimate HIV came to the U.S. from Haiti in 1970 or 1971, but it went undetected by doctors for years…” (Doucleff, 10/26).

Wall Street Journal: HIV First Came to New York City, Then the Rest of the U.S., Research Shows
“…Haiti’s role as a steppingstone in the epidemic has been hotly debated for decades. Some tropical disease specialists argued that medical records at the time suggested, instead, that victims in Haiti had been infected by visitors from the U.S. The scientists, led by evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey at the University of Arizona in Tucson and public health historian Richard McKay at the U.K.’s Cambridge University, published their findings online in Nature…” (Hotz, 10/26).

Washington Post: Mythology of ‘Patient Zero’ and how AIDS virus traveled to the United States is all wrong
“…[The researchers] explained that public health investigators at the time had dubbed [Dugas as] ‘Patient O’ meaning the letter O and not the number zero because he came from ‘Out(side)-of-California,’ but that the letter became confused with the number in the medical literature and popular media and over time became part of the mythology of AIDS despite numerous attempts by some scientists to clarify his role in the epidemic…” (Cha, 10/26).

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