Serum from 387 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus), caught in the wild or bred in captivity, was tested for antibody to HIV-1 and HIV-2, using second- and third-generation enzyme immunoassays. Six samples were repeatedly positive; however, only one of these was Western blot positive. Serial sera drawn before and after the Western blot-positive samples were seronegative, and thus we conclude that this sample represented specimen contamination, or mislabeling. Thus, none of the 387 Pan troglodytes verus from West Africa were spontaneously infected with SIVcpz. Chimpanzees are known to be exquisitely susceptible to infection with HIV-1 when experimentally inoculated, and thus our findings suggest that HIV-1-related viruses do not exist in Pan troglodytes verus in the wild. As it has been convincingly shown that SIVcpz exists in wild Pan troglodytes troglodytes in Central Africa, this suggests that HIV-1 arose in Central Africa, but not in West Africa.