The Difference Between O and Zero

Researchers clear up the history behind AIDS, HIV, and Patient Zero.  While researching the epidemic, it was learned the disease went undetected by doctors for several years after it arrived in the U.S. from Haiti in 1970 or 1971.

Those diagnosed with HIV who were interviewed by behavioural scientist William Darrow were identified with letters and numbers.  The first person interviewed from Los Angeles was therefore LA1.  Those being interviewed lived in California, however, one common person with whom many had contact was Gaetan Dugas who was identified in the media as Patient Zero.  This led readers to believe he was the first person to have HIV, and that he was responsible for its spread in North America.

The fact of the matter is that Patient Zero was actually Patient O which stood for “outside California.”

Details of the research was published in Nature on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.


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