Gene study clears ‘Patient Zero’ as cause of U.S. HIV epidemic

White House marks World AIDS Day with giant ribbon on North PorticoBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) – Genes taken from archived blood samples show the U.S. AIDS epidemic started in New York in the early 1970s, definitively debunking the long-held belief that the virus was spread in the early 1980s by a flight attendant who became vilified as "Patient Zero" for seeding the U.S. outbreak. Scientists have long suspected that HIV had been circulating in the United States for a decade before the first few AIDS cases were identified in Los Angeles 1981. "What we've done here is tried to get at the origins of the first cases of AIDS that were ever noticed," said Michael Worobey, the evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona who led the study.

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