Skip to main content

The origins of HIV and implications for the global epidemic

Abstract

HIV type 1 (HIV-1) and type 2 (HIV-2) are the result of several cross-species transmissions from primates to humans. Recently, the ancestral strains of HIV-1 groups M and N were shown to still persist in today’s wild chimpanzee populations (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in south Cameroon. Lately, HIV-1 group O-related viruses have been identified in western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), called SIVgor, but chimpanzees are most likely the original reservoir of this simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection. HIV-2 is the result of at least eight distinct cross-species transmissions of SIV from sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) in West Africa. Although the origin of HIV-1 and HIV-2 became clearer, some important questions concerning pathogenicity and epidemic spread of certain HIV/SIV variants need to be further elucidated. Because humans are still exposed to a plethora of primate lentiviruses through hunting and handling of primate bushmeat, the possibility of additional zoonotic transfers of primate lentiviruses from other primates must be considered.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. UNAIDS/WHO AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2006. http://www.unaids.org/en/HIV_data/epi2006. Accessed April 19, 2007.

  2. Hahn BH, Shaw GM, De Cock KM, Sharp PM: AIDS as a zoonosis: scientific and public health implications. Science 2000, 287:607–614.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Keele BF, Van Heuverswyn F, Li Y, et al.: Chimpanzee reservoirs of pandemic and nonpandemic HIV-1. Science 2006, 313:523–526.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Van Heuverswyn F, Li Y, Neel C, et al.: Human immunodeficiency viruses: SIV infection in wild gorillas. Nature 2006, 444:164.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Santiago ML, Range F, Keele B, et al.: Prevalence and genetic diversity of simian immunodeficiency virus in free-ranging sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys atys) from the Taï Forest, Côte d’Ivoire: implications for the origins of epidemic HIV-2. J Virol 2005, 79:12515–12527.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. McCutchan FE: Global epidemiology of HIV. J Med Virol 2006, 78(Suppl 1):S7–S12.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hemelaar J, Gouws E, Ghys PD, Osmanov S: Global and regional distribution of HIV-1 genetic subtypes and recombinants in 2004. AIDS 2006, 20:W13–23.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. VandeWoude S, Apetrei C: Going wild: lessons from naturally occurring T-lymphotropic lentiviruses. Clin Microbiol Rev 2006, 19:728–762.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Aghokeng A, Peeters M: Simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) in Africa. J Neurovirol 2005, 11(Suppl 1):27–32.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Apetrei C, Marx PA: African lentiviruses related to HIV. J Neurovirol 2005, 11(Suppl 1):33–49.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Bibollet-Ruche F, Bailes E, Gao F, et al.: New simian immunodeficiency virus infecting De Brazza’s monkeys (Cercopithecus neglectus): evidence for a cercopithecus monkey virus clade. J Virol 2004, 78:7748–7762.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Aghokeng AF, Liu W, Bibollet-Ruche F, et al.: Widely varying SIV prevalence rates in naturally infected primate species from Cameroon. Virology 2006, 345:174–189.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Bailes E, Gao F, Bibollet-Ruche F, et al.: Hybrid origin of SIV in chimpanzees. Science 2003, 300:1713.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Switzer WM, Parekh B, Shanmugam V, et al.: The epidemiology of simian immunodeficiency virus infection in a large number of wild-and captive-born chimpanzees: evidence for a recent introduction following chimpanzee divergence. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2005, 21:335–342.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Sharp PM, Shaw GM, Hahn BH: Simian immunodeficiency virus infection of chimpanzees. J Virol 2005, 79:3891–3902.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Apetrei C, Kaur A, Lerche NW, et al.: Molecular epidemiology of simian immunodeficiency virus SIVsm in U.S. primate centers unravels the origin of SIVmac and SIVstm. J Virol 2005, 79:8991–9005.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Santiago ML, Lukasik M, Kamenya S, et al.: Foci of endemic simian immunodeficiency virus infection in wild-living eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). J Virol 2003, 77:7545–7562.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Worobey M, Santiago ML, Keele BF, et al.: Origin of AIDS: contaminated polio vaccine theory refuted. Nature 2004, 428:820.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Vidal N, Mulanga C, Edidi Bazepeo S, et al.: Distribution of HIV-1 variants in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) suggest increase of subtype C in Kinshasa between 1997 and 2002. JAIDS 2005, 40:456–462.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Kalish ML, Robbins KE, Pieniazek D, et al.: Recombinant viruses and early global HIV-1 epidemic. Emerg Infect Dis 2004, 10:1227–1234.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Korber B, Muldoon M, Theiler J, et al.: Timing the ancestor of the HIV-1 pandemic strains. Science 2000, 288:1789–1796.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Salemi M, Strimmer K, Hall WW, et al.: Dating the radiation of HIV-1 group M in 1930s using a new method to uncover clock-like molecular evolution. FASEB Journal 2001, 15:276–278.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Lemey P, Pybus OG, Rambaut A, et al.: The molecular population genetics of HIV-1 group O. Genetics 2004, 167:1059–1068.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Yamaguchi J, McArthur CP, Vallari A, et al.: HIV-1 Group N: evidence of ongoing transmission in Cameroon. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2006, 22:453–457.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Yamaguchi J, Coffey R, Vallari A, et al.: Identification of HIV type 1 group N infections in a husband and wife in Cameroon: viral genome sequences provide evidence for horizontal transmission. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2006, 22:83–92.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Pieniazek D, Rayfield M, Hu DJ, et al.: HIV-2 protease sequences of subtypes A and B harbor multiple mutations associated with protease inhibitor resistance in HIV-1. AIDS 2004, 18:495–502.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Plantier JC, Gueudin M, de Oliveira F, et al.: Rapid discrimination between human immunodeficiency virus type 2 groups A and B by real-time PCR. J Clin Microbiol 2004, 42:5866–5870.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Damond F, Worobey M, Campa P, et al.: Identification of a highly divergent HIV type 2 and proposal for a change in HIV type 2 classification. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2004, 20:666–672.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Schim van der Loeff MF, Aaby P: Towards a better understanding of the epidemiology of HIV-2. AIDS 1999, 13(Suppl A):S69–84.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Lemey P, Pybus OG, Wang B, et al.: Tracing the origin and history of the HIV-2 epidemic. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2003, 100:6588–6592.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Kalish ML, Wolfe ND, Ndongmo CB, et al.: Central African hunters exposed to simian immunodeficiency virus. Emerg Infect Dis 2005, 11:1928–1930.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Wolfe ND, Switzer WM, Carr JK, et al.: Naturally acquired simian retrovirus infections in central African hunters. Lancet 2004, 363:932–937.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Switzer WM, Bhullar V, Shanmugam V, et al.: Frequent simian foamy virus infection in persons occupationally exposed to nonhuman primates. J Virol 2004, 78:2780–2789.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Wolfe ND, Heneine W, Carr JK, et al.: Emergence of unique primate T-lymphotropic viruses among central African bushmeat hunters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2005, 102:7994–7999.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Peeters M, Courgnaud V, Abela B, et al.: Risk to human health from a plethora of simian immunodeficiency viruses in primate bushmeat. Emerg Infect Dis 2002, 8:451–457.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Grimm TA, Beer BE, Hirsch VM, Clouse KA: Simian immunodeficiency viruses from multiple lineages infect human macrophages: implications for cross-species transmission. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2003, 32:362–369.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Heeney JL, Dalgleish AG, Weiss RA: Origins of HIV and the evolution of resistance to AIDS. Science 2006, 313:462–466.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Laurent C, Bourgeois A, Mpoudi M, et al.: Commercial logging and HIV epidemic, rural Equatorial Africa. Emerg Infect Dis 2004, 10:1953–1956.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martine Peeters PhD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Van Heuverswyn, F., Peeters, M. The origins of HIV and implications for the global epidemic. Curr Infect Dis Rep 9, 338–346 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11908-007-0052-x

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11908-007-0052-x

Keywords

  • Wild Chimpanzee
  • Gorilla Gorilla
  • West Central
  • Sooty Mangabey
  • Western Gorilla