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HIV discovery 'will change your life forever'

French scientist Francoise Barre-Sinoussi almost didn't get the chance to make one of the greatest medical discoveries of the 20th century.

She shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with her colleague Luc Montagnier for identifying HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, a plague that has killed about 35 million people since the 1980s.

"Never before has science and medicine been so quick to discover, identify the origin and provide treatment for a new disease entity," according to the Nobel committee. Because of their discovery, scientists quickly developed a test for the virus. Their discovery also led to the development of drugs that dramatically increased the life expectancy of HIV-positive patients.

But had Barre-Sinoussi listened to one leader at the lab where she would eventually find fame, she may never have been a scientist at all.

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