Doctors first identified the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the early 1980s at the height of an epidemic. Tens of thousands of HIV-positive people around the world were dying as HIV developed into the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS.
Where did this plague come from? In the 1980s, fear and ignorance gave rise to speculation. In the United States, the religious right saw the virus as a cruel God’s punishment for homosexuality. Urban legends sprouted about crazed bestial encounters between monkeys and human beings.
This was all nonsense.