What is the difference between HIV & AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that can lead to an infection and is contracted by the exchange of bodily fluids. Once the virus is in someone’s system, it will begin to attack the immune system, preventing it from functioning properly, inhibiting its ability to fight off infections. Unlike the majority of other viruses, those with HIV will be unable to completely clear the virus from their system. There is no cure for HIV, but by visiting a doctor, HIV can be well-managed and controlled with prescribed medication.

If left untreated, HIV can do serious damage to the immune system, which can then lead to it evolving into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). This can drastically shorten one’s lifespan. Symptoms vary from person to person and are actually related to any infections that may develop due to the inability of the immune system to fight off infections. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and cancer are a few examples of infections someone with AIDS may contract, which can be potentially fatal due to the weakened immune system.