HIV was discovered in 1983, according to The Aids Institute. When the virus was first discovered, scientists called it human T-cell lymphotropic virus-typeIII/lymphadenopathy-associated virus, or HTLV-III/LAV. HIV-1 is the predominant strain of the HIV virus, and it originated in primates.
In 1999, researchers discovered the origins of the HIV-1 virus in Africa. They found that a species of chimpanzee in West Africa carried the simian immunodeficiency virus, which is the chimpanzee form of HIV. When hunters killed the animals for food, they came into contact with the infected blood. Researchers suspect the chimpanzee virus mutated into the human HIV virus, according to The Aids Institute.