Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Seroepidemiology of human immunodeficiency virus in Africa.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 27 September 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:782
  1. I Wendler,
  2. J Schneider,
  3. B Gras,
  4. A F Fleming,
  5. G Hunsmann,
  6. H Schmitz


    Serum samples from 6015 African subjects without symptoms of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or contact with the disease were examined for antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus by a combination of an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and radioimmunoprecipitation (2567 samples) or by immunofluorescence (3448 samples). Serum samples had been collected between 1976 and 1984 in Senegal (n = 789), Liberia (935), Ivory Coast (1195), Burkina Faso (299), Nigeria (536), Gabon (1649), Zaire (15), Uganda (164), and Kenya (433). Only four samples contained antibodies. Three of these were from attenders at the Lambarene clinic in Gabon and one from a villager in Senegal. By contrast, two out of six AIDS suspects from Guinea-Bissau, all 13 patients with AIDS from Kinshasa (Zaire), and two out of three of their contacts were seropositive, all these specimens having been collected in 1985. These data show that fewer than one in a 1000 subjects were seropositive for AIDS at the time of sampling before 1985 and do not support the hypothesis of the disease originating in Africa.