The AIDS virus reached America through Haiti, not directly from Africa, and far earlier than has been suspected—the 1960's, not the early 1980's, researchers have discovered. Scientists analyzed 25-year-old blood samples and used what they know of the virus' mutations to construct a rough timeline of the progression of the disease, according to the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers found that Haiti was the steppingstone for the illness between Africa, where it originated in the 30's, and America. The finding indicates that an AIDS-infected population likely existed in America for years before researchers were aware of the illness, which one expert called "unnerving." AIDS was first identified in the US in 1981.