Our expert says:
No one knows for sure. Scientists think that HIV probably originated early 20th century, when simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which causes an immune disease similar to HIV in apes, crossed the species barrier to humans, perhaps as a result of bushmeat hunting (i.e. of apes) in Africa, and evolved to become HIV.
The world's current epidemic probably started in the mid to late 1970s.
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