In 1981 doctors in the United States found a “rare pneumonia” among gay men in Los Angeles. Similar findings appeared in New York and San Francisco. As CDC launched an investigation, it found the source of the deadly disease was one man.
“A very handsome airline steward,” said Dr. Selma Dritz, the head of CDC investigator, talking to CBS’s 60 Minutes in 1987.
His name was Gaetan Dugas, a man known to have unlimited sexual stamina and could fly everywhere with free tickets.
By the time CDC found the Air Canada steward was the source of AIDS, or then known as “Patient Zero,” over 200 men in the U.S. became AIDS Patients, and 40 of them had either slept with Mr. Dugas, or slept with someone who had slept with him. Over the years, before he died in 1984, he had slept with over 3,000 men, according to CDC investigators.
But later, other researchers found he was not the “patient zero.” The AIDS first transferred to humankind in 1908 in Africa. One theory is that it was a chimp from which a hunter got the virus first.