Arvid Noe

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Arvid Darre Noe
Born Arne Vidar Røed
(1946-07-23)23 July 1946
Died 24 April 1976(1976-04-24) (aged 29)
Cause of death
AIDS-related complications
Resting place
Horten Cemetery
Occupation Sailor, truck driver
Known for First named person known to have contracted HIV
Children 3

Arvid Darre Noe (23 July 1946 – 24 April 1976) is the alias of Arne Vidar Røed, a Norwegian sailor who is the first named person known to have contracted HIV and who later died from AIDS outside the United States. Røed was the second earliest person confirmed to have died from AIDS outside Africa, after Robert Rayford, a teenager from St. Louis, Missouri died in May 1969. Later studies found HIV in blood and tissue samples of victims who died in western Africa as early as 1959, though the immediate cause of death was not identified at the time.[1]

Noe was originally referred to simply as the "Norwegian Sailor" in AIDS literature and then by the anagram Arvid Noe. The true identity of Arvid Noe and names, dates, and places associated with his life were changed to help conceal his identity (and that of his wife and daughter) until decoded by David Daniel in 2011.

Illness and death[edit]

Røed began his career as a sailor in 1961, when he was 15 years old. Journalist Edward Hooper established that Røed had twice visited Africa as a sailor; first from mid-1961 to mid-1962 when Noe worked on the merchant vessel Hoegh Aronde, which traveled the west coast of Africa to Douala, Cameroon. Roed was treated for gonorrhea on this journey. He returned to Africa in 1964, when he reached the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, in eastern Africa.[2]

By 1968, Arne Vidar Røed was no longer a sailor and was working as a long haul truck driver throughout Europe (mainly in Germany). Beginning in 1966 (the same year Robert Rayford first presented with symptoms), Røed suffered from joint pain, lymphedema, and lung infections. His condition stabilized with treatment until 1975, when Røed's symptoms worsened. He developed motor control difficulties and dementia, and died on 24 April 1976. His wife grew ill with similar symptoms and died in December. Although their two older daughters were not born infected, their third daughter died on 4 January 1975, at the age of seven and, thus, was the first person documented to have died of AIDS outside the United States. Arne, his wife, and his daughter were buried in Horten, Vestfold, Norway.

Later investigations[edit]

Approximately a decade after Røed's death, tests by Dr. Stig Sophus Frøland of the Oslo National Hospital concluded that blood samples from Røed, his daughter and wife all tested positive for HIV.[3]

Based on research conducted after his death, Røed is believed to have contracted HIV in Cameroon in 1961 or 1962, where he was known to have been sexually active with many African women, including prostitutes.[4] Røed was infected with HIV-1 group O, which is known to have been prevalent in Cameroon in the early 1960s.[5]

During his tenure as a truck driver, from 1968 to 1972, Røed engaged in sexual activity with many prostitutes and almost certainly gave some HIV; these women almost certainly passed the disease on to other clients.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Origins of HIV and the AIDS Pandemic', CSH Perspectives, 2011, Paul M. Sharp and Beatrice H. Hahn. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  2. ^ Hooper, Edward (1999). The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS. Allen Lane. p. 772. ISBN 0-713-99335-9. 
  3. ^ Frøland, S.S., et al.. "HIV-1 Infection in Norwegian Family before 1970". The Lancet. 11 June 1988. Pp. 1344-1345
  4. ^ Hooper, Edward, Sailors and star-bursts, and the arrival of HIV, from the British Medical Journal, 1997
  5. ^ Hooper 1999 p.321
  6. ^ Hooper 1999 p.519