For numerous decades it has been thought by many that when HIV first came to America it originated during the 1980’s in and around San Francisco before spreading throughout the Nation. Often a French-Canadian man named Gaetan Dugas has been assigned blamed as the, “Patient Zero,” who transmitted HIV through his being a flight attendant and thereby, “Spreading,” HIV when he would have sex in various cities his flights would stop at–such as in San Francisco. However, it has long been pointed out that in the original study where the, “O,” appeared it was actually meant to be the letter, “O,” not a zero–he was simply noted as the outside-of-California case and the misinterpretation continued for decades, a clear-cut case of victim-blaming.
Some news articles have been discussing this as they are stating he is further, “Exonerated,” from blame due to a recent study finding that HIV may have first originated in the United States within New York City in the 1970’s after coming-over from Hati before actually spreading in the U.S.–with one person from NYC visiting San Francisco –thereby making the often-vilified Dugas less someone to, “Blame,” as opposed to another person who was infected with HIV and sadly passed before medications were developed that have helped make HIV a chronic condition as opposed to a death sentence.
This recent study and its findings show that, “Blaming,” anyone for HIV–be they Gaetan Dugas or anyone else–is ignorant at best and cruel at worst. The best way to fight against the transmission of HIV is through education and practicing safer-sex, not via saying certain individuals or demographics are, “Guilty,” of introducing or spreading HIV. As this study illustrates, HIV (like almost any other virus) was going to arrive in the United States, and the focus shouldn’t be on who we blame, but on how we work to address this epidemic.
Article that breaks-down how the recent study was conducted: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/new-study-shows-hiv-epidemic-started-spreading-new-york-1970-n673371
Article that explains how Dugas became the unfairly-blamed, “Patient Zero,” of HIV in North America: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/newly-exonerated-gaetan-dugas-hiv-patient-zero-article-1.2847321
Article discussing the public-portrayal of Gaetan Dugas as a, “Foreign villain,”: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/26/498876985/mystery-solved-how-hiv-came-to-the-u-s