5 Facts you need to know to understand how HIV and AIDS are different

By:Meenakshi Chaudhary, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Nov 30, 2015

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HIV and AIDS are words of common awareness, though people still confuse one for the other. It's time you understand the difference between them. Here is why HIV and AIDS aren't one and the same thing.
  • 1

    HIV is a virus and AIDS is a condition

    HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency virus. It is known to impair the functionality of the immune system cells by infecting them. It deteriorates the immune system, making the host more vulnerable to dangerous diseases. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a condition that occurs when certain amount of serious damage is caused to immune system by HIV.  It develops when the HIV infection is very advanced.

  • 2

    You can be infected with HIV and not have AIDS

    People start taking HIV infection for AIDS, however, that is not the same thing. Did you know that a person who is infected by HIV may not necessarily have AIDS? Medical science is now capable of containing the growth of HIV. HIV-infected people can now live normal lives with the help of proper medication. To summarize, not all HIV-infected people have AIDS, however all AIDS patients have HIV.

  • 3

    HIV can be transmitted from person to person

    You must surely have heard someone joking about AIDS and saying 'Don't give me AIDS!' It is a bad joke that is technically incorrect. People don't infect other people with AIDS, but they can infect others with HIV.

  • 4

    HIV can be diagnosed using a simple test

    HIV infection can be identified by a simple blood or saliva test. However, these tests can be conclusive only when used several weeks after infection. On the other hand, a test that detects the presence of antigens produced by HIV can be used to diagnose HIV within a few days.

  • 5

    AIDS diagnosis is a little more complicated

    A person develops AIDS when the HIV has reduced the immunity so low that the person cannot fight off infections and diseases. In order to find out whether the person has AIDS or not, a test is conducted for count of the immune cells, called CD4 cells. It is quite difficult to identify AIDS in comparison with HIV. Image Source: Getty

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