Many people think that HIV and AIDS are the same thing. In fact, this is not the case!
HIV is a virus that suppresses the immune system, and AIDS is a complex of diseases that develop in an HIV-positive person against a background of reduced immunity.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV can weaken the immune system to a point where the body begins to develop so-called opportunistic diseases, which a healthy immune system can usually deal with.
Once in the human body, HIV weakens the immune system by attacking certain cells that are called upon to fight infections, T-lymphocytes or CD4 cells. Once inside the T-lymphocyte, HIV uses its biological processes to its advantage, forcing the cell to create copies of itself. This process depletes the host cell, and over time, most of the infected T lymphocytes die. And new copies of the immunodeficiency virus are introduced into new T-lymphocytes, kill them, and the cycle repeats. The fewer T-lymphocytes become, the more the body’s immune system weakens. Gradually, the number of T-lymphocytes decreases so much that the body can no longer withstand the pathogens that a healthy immune system usually copes with.
AIDS is usually diagnosed several years after contracting HIV, when a person develops one or more very serious illnesses. If left untreated, HIV infection can lead to AIDS.