Scientists Find First Human Infected With Gorilla HIV

Disease continues to evolve
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2009 2:48 AM CDT
A form of HIV found in gorillas has infected a woman from Cameroon living in Paris.   (AP Photo/Haika Scheffler - THE CANADIAN PRESS)
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(Newser) – A woman from Cameroon living in Paris is the first human discovered to be infected with a form of HIV found in gorillas, HealthDay reports. The finding is yet another indication that the disease continues to mutate and to be transmitted by primates. The woman, 62, has not developed symptoms of AIDS, even though she was infected five years ago.

It’s not certain if the woman contracted HIV directly from a gorilla by, for example, eating gorilla meat, or by having sex with someone who had frequent contact with the animals’ blood, such as a gorilla hunter. Scientists believe humans were initially infected with HIV primarily from eating chimpanzee or monkey meat. "The jury is still out as to whether this is bad news relative to strains of HIV that are already circulating," cautioned an AIDS expert.
(Read more HIV stories.)