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Originally posted by Jazzerman
Honda...are you asking do they know where the disease started on a historical timeline, or where it started in one individual? I have an answer to both, but I'm not sure what you are asking.
As far as why it's taking so long to find a cure...
HIV is not actually a "living" organism as you and I would define a living organism. HIV is simply a set of genetic instructions carried in a envelope to instruct its host into producing more viral particles. The problem with finding a cure is simply that most but not all viruses are extremely small, ingeniously basic, and because of this...nearly impossible to destroy.
People also need to realize that a form of HIV is found in nearly all other species on earth including Monkeys (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus), Cats (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), Sheep (Visna), and Goats (CAEV)but to name a few. So, the virus can be traced back to an original ancestor, and that ancestor is classified in the subgroup named Lentiviruses, which are in a class known as Retroviruses. So, the basic deconstruction of HIV is as follows:
Viruses - Retroviruses - Lentiviruses - Human Immunodeficiency Virus
This particular subgroup of viruses are particularly hard to destroy (for all the reasons I have mentioned in some of my posts above but don't need to repeat again). So, we have the problem of tracing the history of the virus before the 1950's when it is believed some of the first exposures took place. We know that other species on earth have Lentiviruses themselves, but because of the mutations that take place upon entering ones body it is extremely hard to trace where exactly the virus came from.
Now, here is another piece of information to blow some people's minds...
Can two people that are HIV positive have unprotected sex with each other because they already have the virus? The answer is simply no. In some cases this can cause a supervirus (which is a whole different subject), or they can cross infect one another. So, a person with HIV can actually get HIV twice. The reason to be concerned about this is because some strains of HIV are resistent to certain medications meaning that if you are on the drug Tipranavir (for example) and you are re-infected with HIV from another person, and his/her strain of HIV is resistant to Tipranavir...then that medication will probably no longer work on you as well.
Some more food for thought...
There are two forms of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Not only are physicians combatting over 900 Billion strains of the virus in a single human being, but they are also battling against the two forms that HIV comes in. However, it should be noted that HIV-2 infection is rare and only accounts for a small number of infections, but when you consider everything I have previously said in my other posts you can see it will be extremely difficult for any medicine to work on it.
This is not to say that one day something won't be developed to help combat the disease better than what we have now. If you were to ask me to predict the future of medications for HIV I would simply tell you that it is more probable that medications will be developed to sustain life, and not so much to "cure" the disease.