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What is the Difference Between HIV and AIDS

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What is the Difference Between HIV and AIDS

There are many people that use the terms HIV and AIDS as synonyms when it comes to referring to the virus that attacks the immune system, weakening it until it can't answer to external or invasive agents. However, there are important differences between these acronyms that point to different stages of this disease. Didn't you know that? At OneHowTo we explain what is the difference between HIV and AIDS in detail.

You may also be interested in: What are the symptoms of AIDS

What is HIV?

The difference between HIV and AIDS is quite important.

When a person is exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus and becomes infected by it, the patient will have HIV. When referring to HIV we are talking about the actual virus, this means that not all patients that have HIV will necessarily have AIDS.

HIV is the initial state of this disease, characterized by an asymptomatic stage, which is why many patients live for years with this condition without suspecting its existence. Though there are no symptoms, once the virus has incubated in our body, it can be detected through a blood exam designed to identify this condition.

Nowadays, thanks to advanced medicine, a patient that is diagnosed with HIV in time can live without developing AIDS. But, what exactly is AIDS?

What is AIDS?

HIV has four different stages:

  • Window period: Stage that appears between infection and the appearance of the virus, which is estimated to last about three months.
  • Asymptomatic period or clinical latency: Time in which the person infected by the virus does not present any symptoms. It can last years.
  • Early and medium symptomatic stage: The patient will start to present the first signs of HIV due to a weakening immune system. Fatigue, rash and presence of conditions such as herpes or yeast infection are common during this period.
  • Advanced stage: During this period the patient will start to suffer from what we know as AIDS.

AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the stage of this illness characterized by the appearance of advanced HIV symptoms. In this stage a patient will present evident signs of a weakening immune system as the virus advances. The patient will feel great weakening accompanied by several diseases.

If you'd like more detailed information you can take a look at our article on the symptoms of AIDS.

Difference between HIV and AIDS

With all of these characteristics explained previously, it's much simpler to tell the difference between HIV and AIDS. A patient with HIV is a carrier of the human immunodeficiency virus but does not necessarily have AIDS, unless the patient is in an advanced state of the illness.

How to prevent this conditon

HIV is considered a sexually transmitted disease, as sexual contact without protection with an infected person is the most common reason for infection on a worldwide scale. However, there are several ways to be exposed to the virus, which is why social consciousness is fundamental for its prevention.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What is the Difference Between HIV and AIDS, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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What is the Difference Between HIV and AIDS
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