Mishi Mohammed, a phlebotomist, holds a blood sample from a woman to test for HIV at the Mater Hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi, September 10, 2015. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Scientists may have discovered the birthplace of the deadly Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and this may help determine experts to end the disease for good. The rise of the HIV infection can be tracked back almost 100 years. Modern genetic profiling has helped a lot to ascertain when it all first started.

According to Futurism, HIV can be traced back to Kinshasha, which is the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Previously in the 1920s, it was better known as the Belgian colony of Leopoldville. As the place was the capital of Belgian Congo, young men came to this high profile location to make a fortune. Along with them came sex workers and railroads.

Due to the flourishing location, HIV quickly became the epidemic it is today. The opportunities and not the functions that the location presented were the main reason behind the spread of the disease globally. The HIV-1 group M that originated in the colony is responsible for 90 percent of all infections. On the other hand, the HIV-1 group O that originated nearby is still confined to West Africa.

University of Oxford’s Nuno Faria and his colleagues were able to determine this building an HIV family tree by looking at a mass of HIV genomes that they collected from about 800 infected people from central Africa. They compared the genome sequences and counted the differences in them. According to Faria, ecological factors and not evolutionary factors that spread HIV rapidly across the globe. He determined through his experiment that the HIV genomes shared a common ancestor that existed not more than 100 years ago. The information helped Faria pinpoint the origin of HIV to a specific city.

The genetic assays that helped localise the origin of the disease are still underway. They will help the researchers find out points of public health intervention that will in turn help them reduce the spread of the infection.