Difference between HIV and AIDS

The difference is that AIDS is the disease resulting from infection by the HIV virus. You can be infected with HIV but not develop AIDS.

Since the first case was detected in 1981, 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and 35 million people have died of AIDS. At the moment there is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection.


It is the virus that causes the disease known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV is the acronym for human immunodeficiency virus, while HIV is its acronym in English.

There are two types of HIV virus: HIV-1 and HIV-2, both of which belong to the group of retroviruses, which are RNA viruses, and to lentiviruses, viruses with extensive incubation stages. HIV-1 is found in Europe and America and HIV-2 is found in West Africa.

HIV requires a host cell to reproduce, on this occasion HIV attacks white blood cells, particularly CD4 + T lymphocytes . Lymphocytes are part of the immune system that protects the body against invading agents.

How does HIV destroy immune cells?

When the virus enters an organism, it begins a period of reproduction within the immune cells and the symptoms of the disease do not appear. During this time the infected person is considered seropositive, that is, the HIV test is positive but the person has no symptoms.

HIV infection

It is done through the exchange of body fluids of infected people, such as blood, milk, semen and vaginal secretions. There is no risk of infection from simple skin contact, such as kissing or shaking hands, or sharing personal items, water, and food.

HIV infection has three phases:

  1. Acute infection: between 2 and 4 weeks after virus entry.
  2. Clinical latency: period where the person has no symptoms, can last up to ten years.
  3. AIDS: the last, most severe stage of HIV infection. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their CD4 cell count is less than 200/mm 3  or they have a positive infection.

Prevention of HIV infection

To date there is no cure for HIV, prevention is the most effective measure against HIV infection and the consequences of AIDS, therefore, the following is recommended:

  • Use condoms correctly, especially when there is no commitment to the other person.
  • Do not share needles or syringes.
  • Any instrument that pierces the skin must be sterile.
  • Antiretroviral treatment in the case of pregnant infected women to prevent infection of the baby.

There are tests that detect the presence of HIV in the blood, sex workers or promiscuous people are recommended to take the test once a year. It is important that when there is suspicion of infection, an HIV screening test is carried out.

 HIV control treatment

HIV-infected people can manage their viral load through antiretrovirals. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a combination of drugs that minimizes the multiplication of the virus in the body.


It is the most advanced phase of HIV infection, known for the development of different types of cancer, opportunistic infections and other clinical manifestations. AIDS is the acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. In English it stands out as AIDS.

It was first detected in 1981, when a large number of homosexual men began to suffer from opportunistic infections and rare cancers. AIDS can take between 2 and 15 years to develop from when the individual was infected.

AIDS and opportunistic infections

They are infections that occur in people with a low immune system, as HIV invades the immune system, the symptoms of AIDS are related to diseases resulting from the attack of other infectious bodies:

  • Swollen glands.
  • Weightloss.
  • Fever.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Cough.

Without treatment, AIDS patients can develop tuberculosis, candidiasis, meningitis, pneumonia, and cancers such as lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

world aids day

December 1 is decreed as World AIDS Day by the UN. It is a global opportunity to fight against HIV infection and show support for people living with this virus.

Difference between HIV and AIDS in tabular form

Definition Human immunodeficiency virus. Advanced phase of HIV infection.
Nature Pathogen. Disease.
Prevention · Use of condoms. 

· Do not share objects syringes.

· Sterilization of surgical material.

Antiretroviral therapy.
Detection Study of antibodies in the blood. · Appearance of opportunistic infections. 

· Physical deterioration.

· Kaposi’s sarcoma and other types of cancer.

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