Difference between HIV and AIDS

The difference between HIV and AIDS is that the AIDS is the disease caused by HIV infection. You may be infected with HIV, but not develop AIDS.

Since the first case was detected in 1981, 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and 35 million people have died from AIDS. To date, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection, but infected people can be treated with antiretroviral therapy.

Definition Human immunodeficiency virus. Advanced stage of HIV infection.
Nature Pathogen. Ill.
  • Use of condoms.
  • Do not share syringe objects.
  • Sterilization of surgical material.
Antiretroviral therapy.
Detection Analysis of antibodies in the blood.
  • Occurrence of opportunistic infections.
  • Physical impairment.
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma or other cancers.

What is HIV?

HIV is the virus that causes the disease known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV is the acronym for human immunodeficiency viruswhile HIV is its acronym in English.

There are two types of HIV virus: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Both belong to the group of retroviruswhich are RNA viruses, and als lentivirus, viruses with very long incubation periods. HIV-1 is found in Europe and America, while HIV-2 is found in West Africa.

Like all viruses, HIV needs a host cell in order to reproduce. In this case, HIV attacks the white blood cells, specifically the white blood cells CD4 T lymphocytes+. Lymphocytes are part of the immune system responsible for protecting the body from invasive agents.

How does HIV destroy immune cells?

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV (green) sprouting from a lymphocyte (blue).

When the virus enters an organism, it begins a period of reproduction within the immune cells, during which the symptoms of the disease do not manifest. During this time, the infected person is considered HIV-positivethat is, the HIV test is positive, but the person does not show any symptoms.

HIV infection

HIV is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from infected people, such as blood, milk, semen, and vaginal secretions. There is no risk of infection from simple skin contact, such as kissing or shaking hands, or sharing personal items, water, or food.

Healthcare workers or individuals who share syringes are at risk of being infected by the puncture of an HIV-contaminated needle.

HIV infection has three stages:

  1. Acute infection: 2 to 4 weeks after virus entry.
  2. Clinical latency: period when the person has no symptoms. It can last up to ten years.
  3. AIDS: most severe final stage of HIV infection. The person is diagnosed with AIDS when their CD4 cell count is less than 200 / mm3 or has an opportunistic infection.

Prevention of HIV infection

So far there is no cure for HIV. The prevention is the most effective measure against HIV infection and the consequences of AIDS. This is why it is recommended:

  • the condom use correctly, especially when there is no commitment to sexual fidelity.
  • Do not share needles or syringes.
  • Any instrument that pierces the skin should be sterilized.
  • Antiretroviral treatment in infected pregnant women to prevent infection of the baby.

There are tests to detect the presence of HIV in the blood. Sex workers or promiscuous people are advised to take the test once a year. It is important to get one when there is a suspicion of infection HIV test the sooner the better.

HIV control treatment

HIV-infected people can control their viral load through antiretrovirals. The antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a mixture of drugs that reduces the multiplication of the virus in the body. It also reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

What is AIDS?

AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection, characterized by the development of different types of cancer, opportunistic infections, and other clinical manifestations. AIDS is the acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. In English, it is known as AIDS.

AIDS was first detected in 1981, when a large number of gay men began to suffer from opportunistic infections and uncommon cancers. It can take 2 to 15 years for AIDS to develop since the individual became infected.

AIDS and opportunistic infections

Kaposi's HIV and SiDA sarcoma
Characteristic lesion of Kaposi’s sarcoma in an AIDS patient.

Opportunistic infections are infections that occur in people with weakened immune systems. Because HIV attacks the immune system, the symptoms of AIDS are related to diseases caused by the attack of other infectious agents:

  • inflamed lymph nodes,
  • weight loss,
  • fever,
  • diarrhea,
  • Cough.

Without treatment, people with AIDS can develop tuberculosis, candidiasis, meningitis, pneumonia, and cancers such as lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

World AIDS Day

December 1 was instituted as World AIDS Day by the UN. It is a global opportunity to fight HIV infection and show support for people living with the virus.

Number of deaths due to AIDS according to WHO (2017)
Region Dead
Africa 670,000
America 56,000
Asia (South and East) 130,000
Europe 37,000
World level 940,000

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