It is common to see people getting confused between the definitions of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Both are closely related and considering them the same thing is pretty normal and common. But at the same time, it is important to understand that HIV and AIDS are different from one another. The following information will help you understand the differences well:
AIDS is a condition which paralyses and destroys the immune system of the body and is caused by HIV. What this condition does is that alters the immune defense system and makes people more vulnerable to diseases and infections. Basically Aids is a syndrome which happens to appear in the advanced stages of the HIV infection. The following are the signs and symptoms of AIDS:
- Pain in the joints
- A red rash
- Muscle ache
- Sore throat
- Enlarged glands
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
HIV on the other hand is a virus that causes AIDS and is found in the body fluids of the person who is infected. HIV can be passed on from one person to another through sexual contact and through the blood. Infected women who are pregnant can pass on this virus to their baby either during childbirth or also through breastfeeding.
Both the virus and the disease are together called HIV/AIDS and having an HIV infection does not necessarily mean that the person is suffering from AIDS but having AIDS definitely proves that the person has been infected by the HIV virus. This is the major distinction between the two terms.
In simpler terms, HIV is a virus whereas AIDS is a disease.
The following are some of the symptoms of a late-stage HIV infection:
- In the later stages of an HIV infection, infected person develops blurred vision.
- Another sign which is associated with the occurrence of late stage HIV is persistent diarrhea.
- Having dry cough is another common sign of late stage HIV.
- Night sweats and feeling of permanent tiredness are the other symptoms which may indicate HIV infection that has reached its late stages.
- One may tend to lose weight if the HIV infection reaches its late stages and may also experience shortness of breath.
- Another sign of late stage HIV is white spots on the mouth and the tongue.
- Persistent fever is another sign.
The following are some of the common myths which are associated with HIV/AIDS.
- Contrary to what a lot of people believe, HIV virus is not transmitted by shaking of hands.
- It is also not caused by hugging an infected person.
- HIV/AIDS cannot be developed or spread by casual kissing.
- Sneezing also cannot cause HIV to spread from one person to another.
- Sharing towels is another thing which cannot cause HIV/AIDS, unlike what some people believe.
- Touching or rubbing unbroken skin can also not cause the spreading of the Human Immunodeficiency virus.
- Sharing cutlery or mouth to mouth resuscitation never leads to spreading of HIV/AIDS.