That he's alive at all is remarkable, but that's only half of the story. Hospitalized for colon surgery, the Australian retiree received a blood transfusion tainted with the AIDS virus.Unlike most long-term HIV survivors, he has suffered no symptoms and no loss of immune function.He's as healthy today as he was in 1983-and celebrating his 81st birthday. is just one of five patients who came to the attention of Dr.First, the SIVs are more varied than the HIVS, which suggests they've been evolving longer.Second, it's easier to imagine people being infected by chimps or monkeys than vice versa.
A few researchers are now trying to exploit that very talent, using drugs to force HIV to mutate until it can no longer function.
In a forthcoming book, Paul Ewald, an evolutionary biologist at Amherst College, argues that HIV may have infected people benignly for decades, even centuries, before it started causing AIDS.
He traces its virulence to the social upheavals of the 1960s and '70s, which not only sped its movement through populations but rewarded it for reproducing more aggressively within the body.
Most scientists agree that the human immunodeficiency viruses--HIV-1 and HIV-2--are basically ape or monkey viruses.
Both HIVs are genetically similar to viruses found in African primates, the so-called SIVs.