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HIV And AIDS Are Not the Same Thing

By Dr. Mukesh Mehra in Internal Medicine

Nov 29 , 2022 | 1 min read

Often, HIV and AIDS are used interchangeably. HIV is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the third stage of HIV. Due to the advancements in medical research, people who are compliant with antiretroviral treatment do not progress to stage 3 of HIV/AIDS.

Transmission Of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus)

HIV can be transmitted in the following ways:

  • Sexual contact with an infected partner

  • Blood contamination

  • Sharing needles

  • Mother to infant 

AIDS, on the other hand, can be transmitted only after the person has contracted HIV.

Ways HIV Is Not Transmitted

  • Mosquitoes and other insects

  • Saliva

  • Tear

  • Sweat

  • Hugging 

  • Shaking

  • Sharing dishes

  • Closed-mouth kissing/social kissing

  • Sharing toilets

  • Air

But the following body fluids can transmit HIV

  • Blood

  • Semen

  • Vaginal fluid

  • Pre-seminal fluid

  • Breast milk

  • Rectal fluids

Stages And Their Symptoms Of HIV Infection

Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection

HIV causes the following symptoms after two to three weeks of transmission:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Night sweats

  • Rash

  • Sore throat

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Muscle aches

  • Fatigue

  • Mouth ulcers

Stage 2: Clinical Latency/Chronic HIV infection

Generally, the patient remains symptomless during this stage as natural immunity fights against the virus. Patients can stay in this stage for even 10 to 15 years. 

If the viral load is less, the patient won’t transmit HIV to the partner, but if the viral load is detectable, HIV can be transmitted.

Viral load is the number of viruses in a millilitre of blood. 

Stage 3: HIV/AIDS

  • Persistent fever

  • Diarrhoea lasting for more than one week.

  • White spots in the mouth

  • Genital sores

  • Rashes

  • Fatigue

  • Significant weight loss

  • Persistent headache

  • Chills and night sweats

  • Opportunistic infections (pneumoniatuberculosislymphoma)

Diagnosis of HIV Virus

  • Antibody tests

  • Antigen/antibody tests

  • Nucleic acid tests (NAT)

Management of HIV symptoms

Antiretroviral therapy, or ART, is used to manage symptoms of HIV.

Preventions From HIV Virus

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medicine

  • Do not share needles/syringes.

  • Use condoms

HIV is a Sexually Transmitted Disease and does not spread by sharing utensils or touching. So if your loved one is suffering from HIV, do not isolate them. 

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