Tag Archives: SIV

What We’re Reading via The New York Times

If you don’t follow The New York Times, you should. One of the reasons we love it is because they publish excellent and timely articles on health, and we sex educators rely on it to stay up on the latest news. It is a reliable and sound resource for us. Here are a few of our recommendations from the last month or so…

Searching for Sex, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, January 25, 2015

If you’re fascinated by all things sex ed like I am, you MUST read this article. I’m not even going to prep you with a little introductory paragraph because I want you to be totally blown away. The article is a bit long so if you don’t have time now, bookmark it for later.

Medicating Women’s Feelings, by Julie Holland, February 28, 2015

There are lots of things our society doesn’t talk enough about and mental health tops the list, in my opinion. This article, written by an experienced psychiatrist, says enough is enough! She says, “The new, medicated normal is at odds with women’s dynamic biology; brain and body chemicals are meant to be in flux. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. Women’s emotionality is a sign of health, not disease; it is a source of power. But we are under constant pressure to restrain our emotional lives.” I highy recommend this read…share the article, talk about it, reach out to a friend.

Two Strains of H.I.V. Cut Vastly Different Paths by Carl Zimmer, March 2, 2015

Two strains of HIV-2 have made it to gorillas from chimps, and it's created two rare strains, O and P.

Two strains of HIV-2 have made it to gorillas from chimps, and it’s created two rare strains, O and P, both of which have jumped to humans in Cameroon

We’ve posted many articles about HIV before, including this one the origin of HIV. What I like about Carl Zimmer’s article is that he retraces what we already knew about HIV’s origin, but helps us fill in the gaps by exposing us to new research. HIV-2 didn’t just take one giant leap from primate to human, IT TOOK NINE! HIV-1 was trickier to track down. Scientists have been sifting through chimpanzee and gorilla feces for years looking for answers and now they finally have definitive proof that they can use to reconstruct the path that HIV-1 took. It’s a very fascinating read so be sure to check it out!

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Zoonosis: The Origin of HIV

Image of chimp with SIVLike I’ve said before, when you’re a sex educator, there are some questions that you come to expect. There’s not a single classroom of middle schoolers that hasn’t asked me about the origin of HIV.

Zoonosis is when a virus passes between species, and the strongest, most widely-believed theory is that SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) in monkeys became HIV in humans, probably through monkey-to-hunter transmission. Another, more recent example of zoonosis is Avian Influenza, better known as the bird flu. Remember the H1N1 vaccination public health officials were urging us to get? Animals and humans carry around lots of viruses and bacteria that do them no harm, but when transferred to another species, can have a serious impact – think tapeworms, plague, Lyme disease, rabies, etc.

I strongly encourage you to go to one of my favorite websites for HIV information, Avert.org. Avert does a really great job of discussing all of the HIV origin theories as well as a providing a history and timeline of HIV discoveries.

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