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Difference Between AIDS and HIV

hiv-ribbonOften, people confuse the acronyms HIV and AIDS assuming that the two can be used interchangeably. However, this is not so even though the two are related. HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus and, as the name itself suggests, it is a virus. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and it is the disease that manifest because of an HIV infection.

Sometimes, people who have HIV may or may not manifest the symptoms of the AIDS disease for as long as ten years.

HIV affects the human body by impacting the immune system and destroying white blood cells called T Lymphocytes which are mainly responsible for fighting with germs and diseases. HIV controls these cells and therefore, affects the body’s ability to combat infections. Once the HIV virus starts affecting cells, the body’s immunity begins to drop.

The full-blown manifestation of the AIDS disease occurs when the HIV virus has affected a very large number of cells. This is when the person may get a serious infection and is unable to recover from it. A blood test shows a major drop in the T-Lymphocytes.

In several cases, AIDS, the disease may not manifest even while the HIV virus may be growing silently within the person’s body. When a person has been affected by the virus, he is termed as HIV-positive and is capable of infecting others around him.

The HIV virus is transmitted from one person to another via direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream. It involves an exchange of a bodily fluid ‘“ blood, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, semen, breast milk ‘“ that already contains the HIV virus. Unprotected sex is the most common cause of transmission of the HIV virus. But, it’s a myth that HIV can be transmitted by casual contact.

At present, no vaccines have been developed to prevent HIV virus from entering the body or preventing the manifestation of the AIDS disease. There are, however, medicines for HIV-positive people to help them tackle the symptoms but these medicines are costly and not available everywhere in the world.

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  1. i not like it

  2. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) should be mentioned in this article in some form or another.

    PrEP works by disabling the spread of the virus before it can take hold. This is accomplished by taking PrEP for at least three weeks before potential exposure. PrEP must be taken consistently.

    PEP works, if taken within 72 hours of infection, by preventing the virus from taking hold within the person’s bloodstream, in a similar fashion to PrEP, except it is taken “after” exposure.

    This is very important information that should be included in an article like this. Please add this! In some cases HIV infection was prevented in 90% of those who took PrEP. This is life saving information.

    • Edit: PrEP must be taken for at least for SEVEN DAYS to make it effectual. I mistakenly wrote “three weeks.”

      I have read “three weeks” elsewhere (perhaps for optimal protection?) Either case, my mistake.


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