HIV is a virus that destroys your immune system. Meanwhile, AIDS is a condition that is caused by HIV. It is considered the final stage of HIV. Here is some further information about HIV/AIDS and the difference between these 2 terms.
HIV is a virus, while AIDS is a condition
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It infects humans only and it attacks the immune system, rendering it deficient and unable to work as effectively as it should. Meanwhile, AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and is the condition or syndrome that develops after long-term HIV infection. Patients with AIDS have severely impaired immune systems, and are susceptible to infections, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, certain types of cancer, and other infections.
HIV without AIDS
HIV is a virus and AIDS is the condition it may cause. Therefore, you can have an HIV infection without acquiring AIDS. In fact, our immune system cannot completely get rid of HIV virus. Yet, it can control the virus for a long period, up to 10 years. With the development of medication, the life expectancy of people with AIDS is growing.
While you can have an HIV infection without having AIDS, anyone diagnosed with AIDS already necessarily has HIV. However, due to ART therapy, almost HIV-infected patient survive for many years before progressing to AIDS, or even not having AIDS at all.
HIV can be transmitted from person to person
HIV is a virus, which means that it can be transmitted between people like other viruses. The HIV can be transmitted from person to person through the exchange of bodily fluids. On the contrary, you cannot directly catch AIDS from someone; however, you can contract HIV, which may progress to AIDS.
HIV does not always produce symptoms
2-4 weeks after HIV infection, the symptoms will look like flu. This short period of time is called acute ìnection. The immune system brings the infection under control, leading to the latency period.
During this latent period, which can last for years, an infected person may experience no symptoms at all. When someone has progressed from HIV infection to AIDS, they will usually suffer from several different symptoms of AIDS.
HIV infection can be diagnosed by a simple test. Meanwhile, AIDS diagnosis is more complicated
The immune system creates antibodies that against the virus when you are infected by HIV. The doctor can use blood or saliva test to detect those antibodies and figure out whether you’ve been infected with HIV or not. Yet, this test only works several weeks after infection.
Another test looks for antigens, which are proteins produced by the virus. This test can detect HIV just days after infection. Both tests are accurate and easy to administer.
AIDS is the final stage of the HIV infection. There are a few factors that determine when a person’s diagnosis has crossed from HIV latency to AIDS. For example a count of those cells. A person without HIV can have anywhere from 500 to 1,200 CD4 cells. When the cells have dropped to 200, a person with HIV is considered to have AIDS. Another factor signaling the AIDS virus is the presence of opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are diseases caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that would not make a person with a fully functioning immune system sick such as tuberculosis, cancer, and pneumonia.
Treatment and life expectancy
Once HIV has developed into AIDS, life expectancy drops significantly. It’s difficult to repair the damage to the immune system. There are some common complications resulting from severe immune impairment, for example infections and cancers which become life-threatening for a person with AIDS.
Without treatment, people who progress to AIDS typically survive about 3 years. Once you have a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. Thanks to new advances in medication, the life expectancy of people with AIDS is growing.
AIDS is caused by HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, which damages the body’s defense system. People who are infected with HIV or anyone thought to be at risk of infection deserves compassion and support.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
What is the difference between HIV and AIDS? http://www.healthline.com/health/hiv-aids/hiv-vs-aids#1 Accessed October 15, 2016
HIV vs AIDS: What’s the Difference http://sfaf.org/hiv-info/basics/what-is-difference-between-hiv-aids.html?referrer= Accessed October 15, 2016