The difference between HIV and AIDS

A man was cured of HIV in 2008

The difference between HIV and AIDS | According to the UNAIDS, it is wrong to say HIV/AIDS or to write it. People have wondered what the difference is.

In this short write up, my aim is to refresh your mind a bit about some basics in the area of HIV and AIDS.

Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

The virus targets and alters the immune system, increasing the risk and impact of other infections and diseases. Without treatment, the infection might progress to an advanced disease stage called AIDS.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. When your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections. HIV attacks the immune system and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease. There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

The difference between HIV and AIDS

The best way to prevent HIV is to not have unprotected sex, use a condom for sex and never share needles or other injecting equipment.

Better still, abstain from sex all together till you are ready to commit to one partner and then stay committed. That way, you reduce the risk of being infected through sex.

People who test positive are called Persons Living with HIV and is shortened as PLHIV or simply “PLs” during conversations.

Modern advances in treatment mean that PLHIV in countries with good access to healthcare very rarely develop AIDS once they are receiving treatment.

The life expectancy of a person who carries the virus is now approaching that of a person that tests negative for the virus, as long as they adhere to a combination of medications called antiretroviral therapy (ART) on an ongoing basis.

Kaiser Permanente study in 2016 suggested that between 1996 and 2016, the gap in life expectancy between people who are HIV positive and HIV negative closed from 44 years to 12 years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also advises that a person living with HIV can resume a high quality of life with treatment and that 20.9 million people worldwide were receiving ART as of mid-2017.

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