I know this sound crazy, Actual I saw "Spider-Man Tech" TV program regarding the Spider-Man movies & comics etc... And they (the actors in the TV program) said that Spider-Man got a Retrovirus that's why we are able to see Spider-Man stunts & actions etc.

So was Spider-Man aka Peter Parker diagnosed with a virus like HIV?

  • Hi Errat, I've made quite a large change to your question add I suspect this is closer to what you were meaning to ask. Let me know if it's not and someone can explain how to undo my changes. Don't forget to read the tour, if you haven't already.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Dec 5, 2015 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


No, Peter Parker was never diagnosed with HIV or any other serious illness. That's not what the show in question was trying to say.

A retrovirus is a very huge classification of viruses that work somewhat differently that other viruses. When a retrovirus infects a cell, it takes the virus's RNA and splices it into the existing DNA of the cell; from there, the cell will automatically start reproducing the virus as part of it's normal life cycle.

Retroviruses are used in medical research, especially in genetic engineering, because they allow us to modify the DNA of an existing, adult organism in-place.

The show you watched was merely explaining that this is one possible way that Peter could have obtained his power: a retrovirus infected his body and invaded all of his cells, injecting new DNA into Peter's existing DNA and giving him his powers.

It had nothing to do with any form of fatal disease.


In the 616 canon, the spider is radioactive and therefore has mutagenic enzymes in its venom.

In the Ultimate Universe and in the movies the spider is genetically modified and might have a retrovirus delivery system.

The History Channel made their argument in that radioactivity isn't enough but AFAIK, they ignored the mutagenic enzymes argument. IRL, mutagenic enzymes probably couldn't do it in a targeted manner, but Earth 616 may not have identical biology to ours.

  • IRL a retrovirus wouldn't give people superpowers either. :-) Dec 5, 2015 at 23:43

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