Akinbiyi Morakinyo 11 PAGES (3598 WORDS) Seminar
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The earliest convincing evidence of the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) that causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was gathered in 1959 amidst the collapse of European colonial rule in Africa[1]. In January 1959 rioters briefly seized control of the African townships of Leopoldville, the capital of the Belgian Congo, shocking its rulers into frantic decolonization.  In the same year an American researcher studying malaria took blood specimens from patients in the city. When testing procedures for HIV became available during the mid 1980s, 672 of his frozen specimens from different parts of Equatorial Africa were tested. Only one proved positive, it came from an unnamed African man in Leopoldville, now renamed Kinshasa. The test was confirmed by the Western Blot technique – generally considered the most reliable method – and by different procedures in three other laboratories. Although nothing of this kind can be absolutely certain, there are strong grounds to believe that HIV existed at Kinshasa in 1959 and that it was rare.

One importance of the Kinshasha case is to establish a date by which HIV existed, but in itself the case does not imply that the AIDS epidemic began in western equatorial Africa. If that unnamed African had been the first person ever infected with HIV then it would have been an incredible coincidence[2]. Once AIDS was recognize as a medical condition early in the 1980s, researchers found several early accounts of patients whose recorded symptoms had resembled it. Luc Montagnier, whose laboratory first identified HIV, thought that the earliest case had been an American man who died in 1952 after suffering fever, malaise and especially the pneumocystis carinii pneumonia that afflicted later American AIDS patients, but no blood had been stored for later testing and the symptoms demonstrated only suppression of the immune system, for which there could have been reasons other than HIV. The same was true of a Japanese Canadian who died in 1958 and a Haitian American in 1959. More convincing was the case of fifteen-year-old, sexually active American youth who died in 1969 with multiple symptoms including an aggressive form of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a tumour common in later AIDS patients. His stored blood tested positive for HIV by Western Blot, but the finding was later questioned. Other possible early cases were found in Western Equatorial Africa. There was no stored blood by which to confirm a specialist’s retrospective diagnosis of Aids in an African woman who was hospitalized at Lisala on the middle Congo in 1958 and died in Kinshasa four years later after suffering wasting and Kaposi’s sarcoma. But a Norwegian seaman contracted HIV some time before 1966, possibly while visiting Douala on the coast Cameroon in 1961-1962, and later infected his wife and child; all three retrospectively tested HIV-Positive, although with a form of the virus different from that found in Kinshasa in 1959[3]. The likely reasons lay in three characteristics of the virus. First, as viruses go, HIV is difficult to transmit. Whereas influenza – the sickness of the air, as it was called in Ethiopia in 1918-can be transmitted aerially to anyone close enough to inhale it, HIV can be contracted only by absorption of blood, genital fluids, or milk from an infected human body[4].

[1] . John Iliffe, 2006. The African AIDS Epidemic, Althens, Ohio University Press p.3.

[2] . Ibid.

[3] .Ibid.

[4] . David Akeju (2000). Knowledge attitude and sexual practice among the adolescents; A case study of young school students of Ibadan. North Local Government Area, Unpublished B. Science Projects, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Akinbiyi, M (2019). THE EFFECT OF HIV/AIDS ON WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

MLA 8th

Morakinyo, Akinbiyi. "THE EFFECT OF HIV/AIDS ON WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA", 12 Sep. 2019, . Accessed 09 Mar. 2021.


Morakinyo, Akinbiyi. "THE EFFECT OF HIV/AIDS ON WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA".,, 12 Sep. 2019. Web. 09 Mar. 2021. < >.


Morakinyo, Akinbiyi. "THE EFFECT OF HIV/AIDS ON WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA" (2019). Accessed March 09, 2021.