AIDS vs. HIV

Difference Between AIDS and HIV

HIV and AIDS, two inter – related medical terms but not exactly synonymous. HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the main cause of AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, a human medical condition that leads to progressive weakening of the immune system thereby making the host very susceptible to opportunistic microorganisms and making even cancer cells more possible to thrive.  The risk of HIV infection is elevated via the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre ejaculate and breast milk. These bodily fluids provide an easy route for a possible infection since HIV is free flowing from within these substances once they have gallantly toppled the normal T – cells.

The virus can be acquired only through transfusion of infected blood, or having direct contact with secretions like semen, vaginal discharges of patients diagnosed to be HIV positive.  The risk of infection is higher whenever having unprotected sex, sharing of infected needles. The possibility of passing on the virus to babies during pregnancy of an HIV+ mother is also plausible.

HIV primarily attacks the T-cells, a cellular component of the immune system making up the body’s defenses. As it successfully consumes the cell, the host loses its natural defenses and becomes sickly, fragile and increases the likelihood of recurring infections. Oftentimes; it may involve multi- organ / system affectations. Unlike any other viruses, HIV stays in the body and lies dormant within the host and continues devouring the normal t – cells until such time that it is unable to do its sole purpose. A person diagnosed to be HIV positive remains to be positive with HIV his whole life. As the white blood cell count continue to decline way beyond the normal limit the host will now be having difficulty to resist infections even the most common ones.  An HIV+ patient does not necessarily mean may progress to AIDS as the patient is able to undergo prompt treatment and management.  Compliance with the treatment regimen would mean having direct control over the progress of the disease and would spell a better and healthy living for a longer period of time.

Signs and symptoms of HIV include fever, sore throat, headaches, muscle and joint pains, swollen lymh nodes and skin rashes.

AIDS on the other hand is a far advanced stage of HIV.  AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The term syndrome is a collection or a group of signs and system. This explains why people with AIDS oftentimes will show physical manifestation of various origins which are the end result of a chronic incapacity of the body to resist infection. As a result; multiple organs/systems are affected gradually succumbing to the impending doom brought about by the continuous and speedy decline of the immune system. Memory loss, pneumonia, Kaposi sarcoma, wasting syndrome/ weight loss or tuberculosis are the common complications of AIDS.  Another thing though, before HIV can become a full blown AIDS the patient may continue living a healthy life for about 2 to 10 years. Its progress is gradual but oftentimes lead to death once left uncontrolled.  The treatment usually is made of combination drugs known as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART.

Harmless as it may sound, these two words have easily become the most feared medical condition as it already wreaked havoc and claimed countless lives by the time it was first discovered in 1981. And life has never been the same since then.