Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What name did the CDC have for HIV before it was HIV?

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September 13, 2011 11:15AM

Former Names For HIV

I'm not sure there is a clear answer to this, due to how the question is worded.

Part of this comes from the separation of HIV from AIDS as source vs. medical condition. The other part comes from the timeline that extends long before what most consider the beginning of HIV and AIDS (circa 1980 or slightly before).

AIDS was originally called HTLV-3. HTLV-1 is distantly related to HIV and is found mostly in Japan and the Caribbean,...

An incorrect, but common answer would be GRID(Gay Related Immunodeficiency Syndrome), which was rejected by the CDC. Source and original citation:

In short, if another name can be identified by another contributor, I think it might miss the bigger issue which ties all the different names used during the evolution and continued understanding of HIV and AIDS.

Read on for more from WikiAnswers contributors:

  • Previous names for the HIV are:
  • lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV)
  • human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III)
  • AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV)

The first name for HIV that was officially adopted by the CDC (in 1984) was human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III).

In 1981, when the syndrome that is now known as AIDS was first observed in a cluster of gay men in California, the CDC did in fact refer to it as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency); but this was replaced with the term AIDS (in September 1982) when it was realised that it was not just gay men who were affected.

The previous answer states that AIDS was originally known as HTLV-3. This is not correct - and you will no doubt also note that careful reading of the cited source: "HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was originally called HTLV-3" does not actually say that either.

The original name for HIV (which is not the same as AIDS) was lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV) and was first used by Luc Montagnier when he announced the discovery of the virus in 1983. (this name was however never officially adopted by the CDC).

The term human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III) has only ever referred to HIV - and was first used by Robert Gallo in 1984 (a full two years after the term AIDS had been officially adopted by the CDC).

The term human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first agreed and officially adopted in 1986.

Given that HIV and AIDS are not interchangeable terms and that HIV was not even discovered until 1983, any other "timelines" are wholly irrelevant.

It is only with the benefit of hindsight that isolated instances (spanning back to the late 1950s), of people mysteriously developing unexplained (and unnamed) immune deficient conditions, have been tied back to what we now know as HIV and AIDS.