Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that affects and weakens the immune system in the human body, which makes the patient more susceptible to illness. A person becomes infected with AIDS when the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enters the body through the methods of transmission (read below). AIDS can be life-threatening as it damages the immune system, which interferes with your body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
Similar to COVID-19 that infected humans from eating bats, the first HIV infection in humans is linked to the late 1800s when humans hunted and ate chimpanzees and came in contact with their infected blood.
A person becomes infected with HIV/AIDS when the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is transmitted through body fluids from an infected person. This can happen via 3 primary methods:
AIDS is not transmitted through any other methods such as sharing food, shaking hands, or hugging. Additionally, the virus cannot be transmitted through the air, sneezing, coughing, or mosquito bites.
Symptoms of AIDS appear within 2-4 weeks after transmission, and may persist for several days or weeks. Symptoms on AIDS include:
It is difficult for patients to diagnose themselves based on their symptoms, as the virus can only be detected through a laboratory examination using a sample of blood or saliva.
People often use the terms HIV and AIDS interchangeably. However, the two terms refer to different medical conditions. Differences between the two include:
HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency Virus which attacks white blood cells within the immune system.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It describes a condition in which the immune system has been severely damaged due to years of untreated HIV infections.
Not every person who has HIV has AIDS.
Every person who has AIDS has HIV.
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