So far, you may often encounter the use of the abbreviation HIV (“Human Immunodeficiency Virus”) which is always accompanied by AIDS (“Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome”). Although the two are related, there are fundamental differences between HIV and AIDS and thus there are different treatment approaches for both. So, what is the actual difference between HIV and AIDS? And how can it be prevented? Find the answer in the article below.
Differences Between HIV and AIDS
HIV is a term that refers to a type of virus that falls into the retrovirus category. This virus attacks white blood cells in the human immune system, and these cells remain infected throughout life. If someone infected with HIV does not receive adequate treatment and care, the condition can develop into AIDS.
WhereasAIDS, often referred to as 'late stage HIV' or 'advanced HIV disease'. It is so named because the disease that arises due to HIV infection has not been treated for several years. This condition causes severe damage to the body's immune system and makes it unable to fight off invading infections. Symptoms and illnesses can vary between individuals with AIDS, but often involve potentially fatal infections and cancer.
Although every individual who has AIDS definitely also has HIV, not everyone with HIV will develop AIDS. This is due to the availability of various treatment options for individuals living with HIV. With treatment, the risk of progression to AIDS has been reduced significantly. People who are most vulnerable to AIDS are those who have never taken an HIV test and have never received treatment. By starting HIV treatment, the risk of dying from AIDS can be avoided.
Therefore, the only way to find out whether someone is infected with HIV is to get tested. Unfortunately, there is no direct test for AIDS, because AIDS is the result of untreated HIV infection. This condition is often difficult to diagnose, and often appears before HIV is detected as the cause. To find out your health status, especially regarding HIV, it is recommended to undergo a test at a hospital that provides this service.
How to Prevent HIV/AIDS?
Although the terms HIV and AIDS are different, preventive measures for both are almost the same. The following are several actions that can be taken to prevent HIV and AIDS:
- Use a condom when having sex.
- Avoid changing sexual partners or participating in casual sex.
- Avoid sharing injection needles with other people.
- Carry out routine counseling and screening, especially for individuals who are at high risk of HIV infection, such as commercial sex workers or casual sex offenders.
- Carry out regular pregnancy checks, because pregnant women who have HIV can transmit it to the fetus.
Now, you understand the difference between HIV and AIDS as well as important information regarding this disease. If you experience symptoms that indicate possible HIV or AIDS and are at high risk of contracting it, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
The goal is to undergo examination and receive an accurate diagnosis so that treatment can begin before the disease causes fatal complications. Early detection and treatment can also be effective in preventing HIV/AIDS transmission.