Are HIV and AIDS Different from each other?
Are HIV and AIDS Different from each other? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The AIDS will affect the immune system of the individual infected by HIV, by breaking down the immune cells. Thus, when a person is infected by HIV, the person is more prone to fall sick and even die due to the infections and reducing body immunity against such infections. Once a person is infected with HIV, it is a lifelong disease and there is no cure. However, certain medications can help the person to stay healthy for a long time and also lower the chances of spreading it to others.
The HIV is likely to spread through any body fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk; it can also spread through body cuts or sores in the skin. for example, through unsafe sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral and anal), by sharing toothbrushes and razor blades, by sharing needles for injecting drugs & tattoos and also by transferring HIV infected blood. It is also transferred to the baby of the pregnant woman, who is infected by it. Safe sex methods such as condoms or dental dams can help from preventing HIV. HIV does not spread through saliva or casual contact with the affected person such as touching, hugging, kissing, coughing, sneezing, sharing food or clothing and using toilets.
See Also: Symptoms and treatments of HIV/AIDS
Most often the terms are used interchangeably, however, they are different. All HIV infected person does not always have AIDS. There is a specific cell in our immune system called CD4 or T cells, which is responsible for providing immunity to our body against certain infections. In a normal person, the count of CD4 or T Cells would be around 500 – 1500. Over time, the HIV starts destroying the T Cells, thereby reducing the count of T Cells. When the number of T Cells goes down to less than 200, then the person is said to be affected by AIDS.
When the infected person is not aware of the disease and does not take treatment, it would normally take 10 years to develop AIDS. The treatment is given to HIV infected person usually involves slowing down the damage caused by the virus and hence can control developing AIDS. Thus, not all person infected with HIV can be called an AIDS patient.