Understanding the difference between AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is crucial in navigating the complexities of these interconnected health conditions.
HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system, specifically targeting CD4 cells, which are crucial in helping the immune system fight off infections and diseases. The virus progressively weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to a wide range of infections and certain cancers. HIV is transmitted through specific bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. Common modes of transmission include unprotected sex, sharing needles or syringes, and from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. World AIDS Day 2023 Date, Significance And Theme: Everything to Know About the Day That Raises Awareness About Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Once a person is infected with HIV, they may experience flu-like symptoms in the initial phase. However, some individuals may remain asymptomatic for years without showing any signs of illness. Without treatment, HIV can advance to the more severe stage known as AIDS.
AIDS - Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. It is diagnosed when the immune system has been significantly compromised, leading to a wide range of opportunistic infections and diseases that take advantage of the weakened immune system. These infections, known as opportunistic infections, can include pneumonia, tuberculosis, certain cancers, and severe weight loss. AIDS is characterized by a marked decline in the number of CD4 cells, usually below a certain threshold, and the presence of one or more opportunistic infections or specific cancers.
Complexities of These Interconnected Health Conditions
Not everyone who has HIV progresses to AIDS. With effective antiretroviral treatment (ART), individuals living with HIV can prevent the virus from progressing to AIDS. ART helps suppress the virus, allowing the immune system to recover and preventing the development of severe complications. Moreover, early diagnosis and timely treatment with ART can significantly prolong and improve the quality of life for individuals living with HIV.
In summary, HIV is the virus that causes the immune system to weaken over time. AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection, characterized by severe immune deficiency and the presence of opportunistic infections or specific cancers. Understanding the distinction between HIV and AIDS is essential in promoting early diagnosis, access to treatment, and prevention efforts to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals and communities worldwide.
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(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 02, 2023 12:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).