Debunking the AIDS "Patient Zero" Myth
One of the most enduring myths of HIV/AIDS history has finally been laid to rest. The so-called "patient zero," a Canadian flight attendant named Gaétan Dugas, was once blamed for igniting the entire AIDS epidemic in America. Media outlets fixated on his sexual promiscuity; the New York Post called him "The Man Who Gave Us Aids."
But new research published in the journal Nature reexamined the original blood samples taken from Dugas in 1983 and found that the strain of the virus he was infected with was already present in the country years before Dugas frequented the gay scene in New York and San Francisco. Bob talks with Michael Worobey, evolutionary biologist and lead author of the Nature paper, about how the patient zero story is an ongoing black comedy of mischaracterization.