The acronym HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus can cause the AIDS virus, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. HIV exists in two types, HIV-1 and HIV-2. Unless stated otherwise, HIV usually refers to HIV-1. The virus was identified in 1983, but there are samples from as far back as 1959.
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It is a known fact that this type of HIV initially started as SIV, which is simian immunodeficiency virus, an illness in chimps and monkeys. While there are many hypotheses about how SIV turned into HIV, the most common thought is that chimp hunters were exposed to SIV through chimp blood, and since the hunters likely had cuts or scratches, they caught the virus from chimp blood entering their wounds. The worst part is that, since this type of HIV and SIV were both virtually unknown at the time, many people had a hand in unwittingly spreading the virus far and wide. These hunters were usually concentrated in Africa, and likely spread the disease to their sexual partners without realizing it. Hospitals in Africa also unknowingly passed the virus simply because they did not have the money to buy needles all the time, so they would reuse dirty needles.
Symptoms and conditions of HIV are as follows. You may develop flu-like symptoms within a few weeks of being infected with the disease. You may feel muscle soreness and joint pain, and you might develop mouth or genital ulcers and swollen lymph glands. You may also run a fever and get a rash. You might not realize that these are all pointing to HIV, but the amount of virus in your bloodstream at this time is incredibly high, which means that you would very likely pass along the infection easily if you are not careful.
HIV can progress to AIDS in approximately 10 years, but by the time you have AIDS, you have an incredibly damaged immune system and can get sick very easily. Something like the common cold could put you in the hospital once you develop AIDS. Having a healthy immune system is what keeps us all from getting sick at the drop of a hat, and those who have HIV and are subsequently at risk for developing AIDS should safeguard themselves against illness as well as they can. If you or someone you know has contracted this virus and does not have insurance, do yourself (or them) a favour and get insurance quotes now. You want to avoid having to live with this disease with a lack of health insurance, because those medical bills do pile up and can cause financial ruin, in addition to the virus causing overall heartache.