Seth Berkley, president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, ponders why the disease spreads faster in certain areas.
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Seth Berkley on Aids In Africa One of the questions is why did the virus spread initially here in the United States and in Europe in men who were having sex with men and IV drug users, and have heterosexual spread occur here, but to a lesser degree, but in the developing world, these massive epidemics heterosexually. There have been a lot of questions about that. Some people have postulated maybe the viruses, which are different --the viruses that circulate different parts of the world so maybe the viruses perhaps were better adapted to heterosexual transmission in the developing world. Other people have postulated it’s because they were more other sexually transmitted infections or people’s immune systems were activated. But the answer is we really don’t understand why that is, but that being said, the explosions of diseases in some places in Southern Africa, you have 30 to 40% of the adults infected and that’s all heterosexual transmission and it exploded from a time in Southern Africa 20 years ago when there was almost no epidemic. So there clearly is a different dynamic in those places.
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