There is No Such Thing as “Patient Zero” Health

There is No Such Thing as “Patient Zero”

Written by Matt Keeley on October 04, 2017
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The biggest myth around HIV is that there was a starting patient — Gaetan Dugas — who could be considered “Patient Zero” and started the AIDS epidemic. Thanks to a new study, geneticists have exonerated Dugas. There is no “Patient Zero”. That and more in our look at HIV news from around the world.

  • A new study has dispelled the origin story of HIV. By genetically sequencing samples from patients infected in the 1970s, scientists have proven that there was no “Patient Zero” — exonerating French-Canadian gay flight attendant Gaetan Dugas who the media had labeled “The Man Who Gave Us AIDS”.
  • Global health organizations who support the LGBT community say they are fighting dueling misperceptions—that the AIDS epidemic “is all over” and that it’s “a hopeless case”.  
  • Indonesia’s National AIDS Commission warned that the recent wave of anti-LGBT sentiment might prevent the country from reaching AIDS targets by 2030. 
  • The US honored National Latinix AIDS Awareness Day (15 October). Activists fear the community’s resistance to discussing sexuality is behind new infections and the statistic that one out of four Latino gay and bisexual men will become HIV positive. Volunteer Daniel Garza reflected on being rejected by his parents after coming out then finding a family within the AIDS community.
  • The China Association of AIDS Prevention and Control launched a program to target rising HIV rates among youth by stocking vending machines at Southwest Petroleum University with HIV self-testing kits. Subsidized by a charity, the tests are 10 times cheaper than those bought online.
  • A new study from Germany evaluated HIV testing behaviors of gay men and other men who have sex with men and found that stigma remains a strong factor preventing men from getting tested. A new South African campaign to promote HIV testing hopes to dramatically increase uptake among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The campaign is building off of a Department of Health strategy to provide treatment as soon as a person is diagnosed. 
  • Dating app Grindr added an HIV filter that can hide positive men—Health Innovation Strategist Alex Garner discusses why avoiding people who know their status is bad for preventing HIV infections
  • The PrEP in Europe Initiative published a new report on the access and uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis across Europe with testimony from men and women in over 30 countries, including from people who must seek PrEP outside of official health systems.
  • Norway’s Minister of Health and Social Care, Bent Høie, announced the country will provide PrEP free of charge through the National Health Scheme. 
  • Seeing how highly effective PrEP is at preventing HIV, some researchers are questioning if similar pre-exposure tactics could be used to prevent the hepatitis C virus.

Equal Eyes, UNAIDS, logo, news, rainbow, LGBT, LGBTQIAA, LGBTQ, queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgenderUnicorn Booty brings attentions to global issues of significance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Our partnership with Equal Eyes, a news source produced in collaboration with UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, is part of that effort. To learn more, visit their site at Equal-Eyes.org

This coverage promotes sexual and gender equality while highlighting issues of health, violence, culture, and legal and human rights. Equal Eyes provides advocates and allies a common frame of reference for the realities of global LGBTI communities. Through followup reporting and disseminating this coverage, our effort is to ensure we have a representation of the global stories that matter most or may have under-reporting.

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