No 'patient zero' in HIV epidemic, new research finds (Richard Harrigan, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

At the height of the AIDS epidemic sweeping across North America, a 1987 New York Post headline screamed: “The Man Who Gave Us AIDS.”

That man was Gaétan Dugas, a gay flight attendant from Quebec who had died of the disease three years earlier. He would be demonized as “patient zero,” the man whose promiscuous ways led to a public health crisis. 

“It does push back the date of the expansion of the epidemic in North America further than we thought and gives us a better picture of how the epidemic expanded,” says Richard Harrigan, an HIV researcher at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Darryl Hol reports

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