The Origin of AIDS: Jacques Pepin

Right around the same time that women won the right to vote in this country, a health crisis began that continues to infect and kill. Today, we speak with a researcher who believes he's traced the very first human to be infected with the AIDS virus.

Part Three of The Current

The Origins of AIDS - Jacques Pepin

When a rare pneumonia killed five gay men in Los Angeles in 1981, the Centres For Disease Control remarked on it briefly in a weekly report. Only later it would realize those deaths were just the first in an epidemic that would kill 30 million people. And AIDS is still killing.

But the first carriers of the AIDS virus weren't gay or American or even human. A Canadian researcher believes the first person to come into contact with the AIDS virus was a hunter who killed a chimpanzee, many decades ago.

Jacques Pepin is a professor in the department of Microbiology and Infectious Disease at the Universite de Sherbrooke and the Director of the Centre for International Health. He's also the author of The Origins of AIDS. Dr. Pepin joined us from Sherbrooke, Quebec.

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Last Word - Ulysses

We talked earlier about the Odyssey. Ever since it was written, it has inspired art and artists... Including Kirk Douglas. He played Ulysses in the 1954 film version.

On today's last word, Ulysses has just woken up on Circe's island and starts to realize things have gone badly wrong overnight. The dialogue is a little awkward, but there's timeless wisdom here.

Other segments from today's show:

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