It is now thirty years since the discovery of AIDS but its origins continue to puzzle doctors and scientists. Inspired by his own experiences working as an infectious diseases physician in Africa, Jacques Pepin looks back to the early twentieth-century events in Africa that triggered the emergence of HIV/AIDS and traces its subsequent development into the most dramatic and destructive epidemic of modern times. He shows how the disease was first transmitted from chimpanzees to man and then how urbanization, prostitution, and large-scale colonial medical campaigns intended to eradicate tropical diseases combined to disastrous effect to fuel the spread of the virus from its origins in Leopoldville to the rest of Africa, the Caribbean and ultimately worldwide. This is an essential new perspective on HIV/AIDS and on the lessons that must be learnt if we are to avoid provoking another pandemic in the future.
Jacques Pepin is Professor and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, where he is also Director of the Centre for International Health. He has conducted research on infectious diseases in sixteen African countries.
Introduction; 1. Out of Africa; 2. The source; 3. The timing; 4. The cut hunter; 5. Societies in transition; 6. The oldest trade; 7. Injections and the transmission of viruses; 8. The legacies of colonial medicine I: French Equatorial Africa and Cameroun; 9. The legacies of colonial medicine II: the Belgian Congo; 10. The other human immunodeficiency viruses; 11. From the Congo to the Caribbean; 12. The blood trade; 13. The globalisation; 14. Assembling the puzzle; 15. Epilogue: lessons learned.