HIV and AIDS: What Makes a Big Difference?

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According to WHO, HIV infection is a deadly infectious disease that has claimed more than 25 million lives over the past 30 years. In 2010, there were about 34 million HIV-positive people in the world.


What is HIV / AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects the cells of the immune system and makes them unable or unable to perform their functions. Immunodeficiency resulting from HIV infection leads to increased vulnerability of the body to a wide range of infections and diseases, which, as a rule, people with a healthy immune system can resist. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the terminal stage of HIV infection, which can occur after 10-15 years of infection. This stage is characterized by the development of certain types of cancer, infectious diseases, or other clinical conditions.


What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is a virus that can lead to a disease like AIDS. HIV belongs to a subset of retroviruses, or slow viruses. Although HIV is the cause of AIDS, a patient can live with HIV for many years before the disease develops into AIDS.


HIV is not transmitted by air and does not spread through household contacts, through kisses or hugs. The virus can enter the body through unprotected intercourse, as well as through actions associated with an increased risk of infection, through contact with blood, sperm, breast milk and other body fluids of HIV-infected people.


This is a progressive disease. When HIV enters the body, it attacks specific cells of the immune system. These cells are called CD4 or T-helpers. They are an important part of the immune system that helps the body resist infections and diseases. If CD4 cells do not work properly, the body is more susceptible to various diseases.


AIDS is the terminal stage of HIV infection. It is believed that the patient has AIDS if the number of CD4 cells drops below 200 and the patient suffers from 1 or more opportunistic infections (OIs). Opportunistic infections are infections that, as a rule, a healthy person can successfully fight.


There are several stages in the development of HIV infection before AIDS is diagnosed:


  1. The incubation period. The earliest stage, immediately after infection occurs. HIV can infect cells and begin replication before the immune system responds. Symptoms may be similar to flu symptoms.
  2. The stage of the immune response. The next stage is characterized by the body’s response to the presence of the virus. Even if the patient does not feel any changes, his body tries to fight the virus by developing antibodies to it. This stage, when the patient ceases to be HIV-negative and becomes HIV-positive, is called “seroconversion”.
  3. Asymptomatic stage. The disease can enter a stage called the “asymptomatic phase.” The patient is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, and it causes harm to the body that the patient does not feel.
  4. Symptomatic stage. At this stage, the patient begins to experience symptoms of the disease, such as certain infections, including pneumocystis pneumonia.

AIDS is diagnosed when a patient has various symptoms and infections and certain test results.


How is HIV transmitted?

HIV infection can occur as a result of unprotected direct contact with body fluids of an infected person, such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions. Free std testing west hollywood says, this infection is not transmitted through everyday household contacts: kisses, hugs and handshakes, or by sharing food and drink.


As for the vertical transmission of the virus from mother to child, with the timely passage of a pregnant woman comprehensive antiretroviral therapy and the adoption of a number of preventive measures, the probability of infection of the child can be reduced to 1-2%.

The main method of laboratory diagnosis of the presence of HIV infection is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of antibodies to the virus. This is a safe and harmless blood test that determines the presence of antibodies in the blood, which indicates the presence of HIV. The test can be carried out privately in many medical institutions with quick results. If necessary, a person can anonymously receive advice and referral for further treatment and assistance.