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Thread: HIV, SIV and humans

  1. #1 HIV, SIV and humans 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Why is it that most apes, maybe even most mammals (I know cats have something like it) have something related to HIV throughout the population that's benign? Wouldn't we expect to find a kind of benign HIV in humans? Or perhaps we were separated from this virus for a long time?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    From what I know SIV and HIV are completely related, SIV made the jump from non-human apes to humans from our genetic similarities. I've never heard of an equivalent for any other mammal. However, being technical, HIV is a benign virus, from HIV you get the progression to AIDs. It should be noted there are many cases in which people have had HIV much longer than the time it should've taken for them to develop and AIDs-like condition. Google it, you'll find results. Even so, I might add you take a look at the statistics of Apes with SIV and Apes without SIV - you should find that those with SIV do not live as long as those without.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    New Zealand
    I have also heard of FIV (F = feline) infecting members of the cat family.

    As to being benign, that is normally the result of a long period of joint evolution. There is no benefit in a pathogen killing its host. Much better to keep the host healthy. So evolution tends to make hosts more resistant and parasites less harmful. Some even become helpful, though that is rarely the case with viruses.

    Sadly, there has been too little time for such evolution between HIV and humanity.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Jul 2011
    HIV will be "benign" in the human population in a couple hundred years. It will be because anyone who does not have genes for immunity will be dead. Immunity to HIV will have become just part of what it means to be human.
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  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator
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    Nov 2011
    city of wine and roses
    Immunity to HIV will have become just part of what it means to be human.
    We don't have natural immunity to measles or pertussis or a whole heap of other transmissible diseases. I can't think what would make HIV so different. I'm more inclined to think we'll have an effective vaccine.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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