What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV and AIDs are often misused synonymously. HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the name for the deadly viral infection of which AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a stage or condition of.
HIV - A viral infection
AIDS - A condition/stage of the viral infection
HIV infections go through three stages:
1. Acute Infection – usually within 2-4 weeks of exposure, HIV cells rapidly reproduce, symptoms often flu-like such as fever, diarrhea, head ache, muscle pains, rashes) .
2. Chronic Infection – the second stage referred to as ‘clinical latency’ is the middle stage and often the symptoms of the infection subside and often go away completely. HIV infections at this stage are at a high risk of passing on the infection if proper protection isn’t used.
3. AIDS – 1. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the final stage of HIV and by this stage the immune system is so damaged that the body becomes unable to fight off basic infections like the cold and flu. AIDS patients are at a high risk for contracting diseases that healthy individuals do not.
HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and HIV patients can now live relatively normal lives through early diagnosis and consistent treatment. Individuals with properly treated HIV can completely avoid ever entering the AIDS stage of the infection thanks to advances in modern medicine and antiviral medication.
The medical definition of AIDs according to the National Library Of Medicine (U.S Gov) is when an individual has a CD4 (blood cells that the HIV virus targets) count below 350. Healthy individuals have CD4 counts from 500 to 1,500 cells/mm3 of blood sample. HIV symptoms begin at 350 and get severe when the patient’s CD4 count drops below 200.
HIV is highly contagious during stage II (chronic infection) and it can even be passed from mother to child during childbirth or breastfeeding. HIV can be passed through the following channels:
Some individuals misuse the term AIDS as a general catch all for the HIV infection, and this is incorrect.