The difference between HIV and AIDS is significant, although these terms are often used interchangeably. HIV stands for "Human Immunodeficiency Virus" and is spread by exchanging body fluids. AIDS stands for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome" and is a medical condition caused by the HIV virus.
HIV enters the human body through the exchange of bodily fluids. This is most commonly done via sexual intercourse. Using dirty needles for drug purposes is the second biggest method of transference. The virus enters the bloodstream of the human host and multiplies. The viruses attack the bloodstream's T-cells, which are the organisms that are responsible for attacking foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. As the T-cells are compromised, the immune system grows weaker. Eventually, the body starts to suffer from this deficiency in the immune system, and a variety of infections can take place.
The few early symptoms of HIV include mostly flu-like symptoms. The only way to tell for sure if someone is infected is via an HIV blood test. The lab technicians are able to tell whether someone is infected because of the number of certain antibodies in the blood. Those who are high-risk should be tested every 6 months because the number of antibodies takes anywhere from 3 to 12 months to build up. If someone is identified as being HIV-positive, doctors will immediately begin a course of medication designed to slow the reproductive process of the virus.
AIDS is the condition that results when HIV has left the immune system compromised. In this case, common kinds of bacteria and viruses will have a stronger impact than they would in someone with a normally functioning immune system. While there are drugs to slow down the progress of HIV multiplication, doctors must also treat the range of infections that may result. When someone is said to have died of AIDS, this really means his body succumbed to an infection of some kind, as the immune system was not strong enough to fight it. Anything from pneumonia to toxoplasmosis can become deadly to someone suffering from AIDS.
Sexually transmitted diseases STDs are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States today. Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that you get from having sex with someone who has the infection.