Confidential HIV Test: AIDS Myths Busted

 By: Tim Leach
If you've ever been in the situation where you've needed to take a confidential HIV test you're likely to be concerned with how you may have caught the virus and where your strain originated from. Scientists have been trying to work out where the virus originated from since it was discovered in the 1980s, but even now that the exact origin of AIDS and HIV is clear, there are still some ridiculous rumours and conspiracy theories about where AIDS came from. Here we bust the worst of them:

Someone Had Sex with a Monkey

So you need a confidential HIV test because someone somewhere in the 1930s once bedded a chimp? Sounds ludicrous, right? And that's exactly what it is. Although scientists do know that HIV evolved from the chimp virus, SIV, this wasn't confirmed until 2006. One of the rumours was that HIV had jumped from human to chimp via intercourse, but we now know that not to be the case. Instead it is more likely that a chimp carrying the SIV was hunted and killed by a human and that the chimps infected blood somehow got into the human's bloodstream. This could be through a cut on the hand or even through eating undercooked chimp meat.

AIDS is the Result of a Secret Governmental Biological Warfare Program

What if your confidential HIV test was the result of a secret governmental biological warfare program from the Cold War gone terribly wrong? This theory sounds even more far-fetched than the first one and that involved sex with primates! First of all the Cold War ended in the 1950s and to be honest there simply wasn't the technology around at this time to create highly sophisticated retroviruses. This was a time before even computers and fax machines had been invented.
A Secret Plot to Exterminate Gays

This conspiracy theory isn't just ridiculous it's also downright homophobic. For a start if AIDS and HIV were the result of a plot to exterminate all gays, or even God's revenge on gays as some conspiracy websites claim, then how do you explain the fact that lesbians are the lowest risk group for the virus? There's also the important fact that the virus began in rural Africa which isn't exactly a hotbed of gay pleasure. If God or the secret scientists were really planning a plot to exterminate all gays wouldn't they have unleashed the virus somewhere a little gayer?

The Oral Polio Vaccine

You could possibly need a confidential HIV test because of an oral polio vaccine that was given in the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi in the 1950s. But to be honest it's pretty unlikely. This polio vaccine is rumoured to have be grown in the kidney cells of chimps infected with the SIV virus. However, this theory was disproved in 2001 when the Wister Institute came across a phial of polio vaccine that had been used during this program. The sample was analysed and no trace of the virus was detected finally putting rest to this ridiculous rumour.
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