What’s the Difference Between Hiv and Aids?

Since the first cases of AIDS were identified more than 25 years ago, millions of people around the world have become infected with HIV, and the epidemic has claimed millions of lives. Globally, there are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS, including more than one million in the United States. While there have been successes in addressing the epidemic on many fronts, multiple challenges remain in the areas of prevention, care and treatment, research, infrastructure and capacity development, and funding.

The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; antiretroviral drugs can slow down the process even further.
HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal), transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

What’s the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV stands for the ‘Human Immunodeficiency Virus’ and AIDS stands for the ‘Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome’. AIDS is a serious condition in which the body’s defences against some illnesses are broken down. This means that people with AIDS can get many different kinds of diseases which a healthy person’s body would normally fight off quite easily.
Once the immune system weakens, a person infected with HIV can develop the following symptoms:
·    Lack of energy
·    Weight loss
·    Frequent fevers and sweats
·    Persistent or frequent yeast infections
·    Persistent skin rashes or flaky skin
·    Short-term memory loss
·    Mouth, genital, or anal sores from herpes infections.

How HIV is transmitted
You can become infected with HIV in several ways, including:
·    Sexual transmission. You may become infected if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body. You can also become infected from shared sexual devices if they’re not washed or covered with a condom.
Transmission through infected blood. In some cases, the virus may be transmitted through blood and blood products that you receive in blood transfusions.

Transmission through needle sharing. HIV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing intravenous drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of HIV and other infectious diseases such as hepatitis.

Transmission through accidental needle sticks.

Transmission from mother to child.  Each year, nearly 600,000 infants are infected with HIV, either during pregnancy or delivery or through breast-feeding.

Three means of HIV prevention
Doing her part during the campaign, Damienne met with a group of high school students excited by the opportunity to have an open conversation about HIV/AIDS. The students took turns asking Damienne questions and engaged her in a debate regarding the three recommended means of HIV prevention: abstinence, fidelity and the use of condoms.

Protect yourselves
“It is not by taking the test that you get infected. You get infected by not protecting yourself. As for the mystical beliefs, if such herbal potions could cure, there would be no more HIV/AIDS in Africa! Protect yourselves, it is much safer!” she said.

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