HIV and AIDS

The difference between HIV and AIDS is that AIDS is the disease caused by infection with 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 from AIDS. So far, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection, but infected people can be treated with antiretroviral therapy.

VIHPAGE
DefinitionHuman immunodeficiency virus.Advanced stage of HIV infection.
NaturePathogenic agent.Disease.
Prevention
  • Use of condoms.
  • Do not share syringe objects.
  • Sterilization of surgical material.
Antiretroviral therapy.
DetectionAnalysis of antibodies in the blood.
  • Onset of opportunistic infections.
  • Physical deterioration
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma or other types of cancer.

What is HIV?

HIV 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 belong to the group of retroviruses , which are RNA viruses, and lentiviruses , viruses with very long incubation periods. HIV-1 is found in Europe and America, while HIV-2 is found in West Africa.

Like all viruses, HIV needs a host cell in order to reproduce. In this case, HIV attacks white blood cells, specifically CD4 + T lymphocytes . Lymphocytes are part of the immune system responsible for protecting 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, during which 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 does not show symptoms.

HIV infection

HIV transmission occurs through the exchange of body fluids from 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, or food.

Healthcare workers or individuals who share syringes are at risk of being infected from a needle stick contaminated with HIV.

HIV infection has three stages:

  1. Acute infection : between 2 and 4 weeks after entry of the virus.
  2. Clinical latency : period where the person has no symptoms. It can last up to ten years.
  3. AIDS : the most severe last stage of HIV infection. The person is diagnosed with AIDS when his CD4 cell count is less than 200 / mm 3 or presents an opportunistic infection.

Prevention of HIV infection

So far there is no cure for HIV. The prevention is the most effective measure against HIV infection and the consequences of AIDS. For this it is recommended:

  • the correct use of condoms , especially when there is no commitment to sexual fidelity.
  • Do not share needles or syringes.
  • Any instrument that pierces the skin must be sterile.
  • Antiretroviral treatment for infected pregnant women to prevent infection of the baby.

There are tests that can detect the presence of HIV in the blood. Sex workers or promiscuous people are advised to get tested once a year. It is important that when there is suspicion of infection an HIV test is carried out as soon as possible.

HIV control treatment

People infected with HIV can control their viral load with antiretrovirals. The antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a mixture of drugs which reduces the multiplication of the virus in the body. It also reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

What is AIDS?

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

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

AIDS and opportunistic infections

Opportunistic infections are infections that occur in people with weakened immune systems. Because HIV attacks the immune system, the symptoms of AIDS are related to diseases caused by the attack of other infectious agents:

  • swollen glands,
  • weightloss,
  • fever,
  • diarrhea,
  • tos.

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

World aids day

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

Number of deaths due to AIDS according to WHO (2017)
RegionDeaths
Africa670.000
America56.000
Asia (south and east)130.000
Europe37.000
World level940.000

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