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What HIV has taught about the interactions between biology, culture, and other evolving systems

Mallal, S. (2017) What HIV has taught about the interactions between biology, culture, and other evolving systems. In: Tibayrenc, M. and Ayala, F.J., (eds.) On Human Nature. Elsevier Inc., pp. 771-776.

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Arguably the HIV/AIDS pandemic has presented one of the greatest scientific, humanitarian, and cultural challenges of our time. The Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Syndrome (AIDS) was first reported in homosexual men in the United States in 1981 and was then seen in hemophiliacs, Haitians, prisoners, and intravenous drug addicts. Slim disease, as it was then called, was recognized shortly afterward in Africa. Intense scientific endeavors resulted in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) being identified as the cause of AIDS in 1983. So how did the already marginalized person, their family, and community respond to this mysterious and unpredictable lethal infectious disease? Given enough time and resources, altruism, knowledge, and tools have been able to overcome denial, fear, prejudice, and competing demands. The evolutionary process has provided us a hierarchy of successful and interdependent biologic, cultural, scientific, and medical solutions that have given us the weapons to fight this most formidable biological adversary. Most importantly, our social and altruistic instincts and capacity for rapid cultural adaptation have critically underpinned any scientific or medical success. It is a level at which we can all respond to global challenges.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
Copyright: © 2017 Elsevier Inc
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