HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It targets CD4 cells, which play a crucial role in maintaining normal immune function and in the body’s response to fight infection. Infection with HIV results in a person becoming more vulnerable to infections as their immune system weakens.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
AIDS is used to describe the very late stages of untreated HIV infection. A person with AIDS typically presents with serious infections, typically only observed in severely immunocompromised individuals. Their immune system has become so weak that it can no longer fight off infections with which it would normally cope. With increased testing and advancing treatments, people with AIDS are seen less and less in the developed world.
People unaware of their HIV status can live with HIV for years without showing any signs or symptoms. During this time they can still pass on the HIV virus to others through unprotected sexual intercourse or sharing of needles.With early diagnosis and effective treatment, people with HIV have similar life expectancies to those without HIVAlthough there is not yet a cure for HIV it can be well managed with daily medication and most people living with HIV lead fit and active lives.With effective anti-retroviral treatment, people with HIV are unlikely to develop AIDS.