The Difference Between HIV And AIDS

“On December 22, 1986, finding I was body positive, I set myself a target: I would disclose my secret and survive Margaret Thatcher. I did. Now I have set my sights on the millennium and a world where we are all equal.” —Derek Jarman

In A Nutshell

HIV is a type of virus that can be transmitted through sex, while AIDS is the most severe stage of HIV. HIV has remedies but researchers have still not discovered the cure for AIDS. A person with HIV can live many years without developing AIDS.

The Whole Bushel

Some people think that AIDS is transmitted through sex, but actually, only individuals who have HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can develop AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV can spread in different ways, like through the exchange of bodily fluids like breast milk, blood, pre-ejaculation, vaginal secretion, and semen. Because HIV is a virus, it does not have the capability to reproduce by itself. That is why as it enters the body, it attacks the immune system and hides by attaching itself to a T-cell. It will use the T-cell to reproduce and then destroy it afterwards.

A T-cell is a type of white blood cell that works by fighting infections. When T-cells mature, they start traveling in the blood and guarding the body from any infection that may enter. They are very important in the immune system because they figure out what should be done to foreign substances that enter the body. The T-cell tells the B-cell which antibodies it should create to destroy the foreign substances.

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An individual may not realize that he or she is infected with HIV for years. If the number of T-cells drop too low, the victim develops AIDS. “AIDS” is essentially the medical terminology for the different diseases and symptoms that show up because of the effects of HIV. Once the person is infected with HIV, the virus continuously attacks and weakens the immune system so that it won’t be able to fight other infections that enter the body (a healthy immune system can easily destroy them). As a result, the infected individual may easily contract colds and other infections.

There is currently no confirmed, consistent cure for AIDS. However, HIV-infected individuals can slow down their loss of T-cells by using an antiretroviral medication.

Show Me The Proof

How does HIV affect the body?
How Does AIDS Affect the Body?

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