Q: Doc please shed more lite on this: is HIV the same thing as AIDS?
A: HIV-Human Immunodeficiency virus is a virus quite different from other viruses in its structure and how it attacks the cells of the body. It affects the CD4 cells in the body. These CD4 cells serve as the soldiers of the body, fighting and defending it from disease organisms. When HIV infects these cells the body loses its ability to defend itself so all kinds of diseases which ordinarily would have been taken care of now have the opportunity to affect the multiple systems of the body.
The initial symptoms of HIV are symptoms that can be seen also in other diseases. That means you can have similar symptoms in any other disease.
These include fever, flu like symptoms (cold, catarrh, cough), sweat, fatigue, diarrhea, aches and pains in the joints, headache, rashes and occasionally bleeding from the nose.
Other symptoms like oral thrush (whitish discoloration of the tongue), weight loss, chronic cough (cough lasting more than one month) and chronic diarrhea (passage of watery stools more than a month) come later in the course of the disease.
AIDS is a group of health problems that occur when a person’s immune system becomes too weak to ward off many infections. This is the last stage of the HIV infection at which point the body is no longer able to defend itself. If left untreated, death may result.
So, in summary, AIDS is the later stage of HIV. Not everybody who has the HIV infection develops AIDS.
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