blood sample being tested

HIV and AIDS: What Are Some Key Differences?

Our bodies are well aware of diseases and health complications. This is why we have a functional immune system that can protect our body when there are foreign bodies and disease-causing microbes that might cause harm to different organs in the body. However, there are situations and health complications that our bodies won’t react to. This is especially true with diseases like cancer, certain viral diseases, and unfamiliar diseases that our immune system has not adapted to.

This is especially true for diseases like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Although these diseases are serious infections, not much of the public is aware of these diseases. As of 2020, around 37.6 million individuals worldwide are currently living with HIV. But certain studies say there are 37.9 million individuals that have AIDS.

But what’s the difference between the two? Most would say that not everyone who has HIV will have AIDS, but everyone that has AIDS has HIV. But for much of the general public, most are confused with the key differences between these two health complications. Although there might be similarities, there are some stark differences. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Some Key Differences Between HIV and AIDS?

But before getting into some treatments and preventive measures in this situation, one of the most critical questions that the public wonders about must be answered. What are some differences between HIV and AIDS?

The main differences lie in the symptoms that these infections exhibit. HIV has a myriad of symptoms. Although, most medical experts would say that the best way of knowing if you have HIV is through testing. But before you get tested, you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Rashes
  • Muscle aches
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Mouth ulcers

Still, it’s important to remember that not everyone has these symptoms. Although you might get these symptoms, you should not immediately assume that you have HIV unless officially confirmed.

woman with intubation

Although there are symptoms, the best way of knowing when you have HIV or AIDs is through testing. Not quite sure if you have HIV and other forms of sexually transmitted diseases? You won’t have to worry since a walk-in clinic for STD testing can accurately determine if you have HIV, AIDS, and other forms of STDs.

The main difference between HIV and AIDS is that AIDS is the final stage of the infection. When you have AIDS, you might have the following symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • Purple and reddish skin
  • Pneumonia
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Neurological disorders and memory loss
  • Visible sores on genitals

The symptoms of both diseases might be different, but there are some similarities. Although there are many types of diseases that your immune system can regulate, what makes HIV so dangerous is that this can make you vulnerable to other diseases since this can suppress the immune system. These opportunistic infections can be fatal if not addressed.

That said, you need to consult with your doctor or get testing as soon as you start seeing symptoms of HIV.

Preventive Measures

Preventive measures and treatments for HIV must be discussed. As of the moment, one of the best ways of preventing HIV and other types of STDs is by using protection during intercourse. But contrary to what most people believe in, you can also get infected through the contact of shared syringes and bodily fluids like blood. Although, this can’t be transmitted through sweat and saliva.

There are a variety of contraceptives that are being used, such as condoms. Thankfully, some treatments can help with HIV. Many of these medical treatments support the advancement of HIV towards AIDS. This can come in the form of antiretroviral treatment, which can reduce the level of HIV to the point that tests might render you negative.

As you can see, a person may have HIV, but that does not necessarily mean that it will lead to AIDS. However, anyone who has AIDS has HIV since it’s the last stage of the infection. A few years ago, HIV used to be a severe and deadly disease. But thanks to recent technological inventions, there are now treatments and medications available for individuals with HIV.

As long as you take your medicine, you can live a long and healthy life. At the same time, medical technology is constantly making innovations and significant discoveries. Soon enough, there’s bound to be a newer and better medication that can make a difference in combating and addressing AIDS and HIV.

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