While HIV and AIDS are never easy subjects to discuss, the more educated people are on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), the safer they will be. This is especially true when it comes to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), as they are dangerous, and also a lot of misinformation has, unfortunately, been spread over the years.
Anyone who is sexually active should consider getting either a regular STD testing with their family physician or locating a STD Clinic that offers free testing and screening for STDs and STIs in their area. Some of these STDs are treatable and all but minor inconveniences, while others such as HIV/AIDS, are far more serious. Having a better understanding of these conditions can help you to identify symptoms as early as possible so you can get the treatment you need.
Below, our team at Hope Across the Globe, outlines everything you need to know so you can better understand the difference between HIV and AIDS moving forward.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Almost everyone has heard of HIV/AIDS at some point or another, and may even be personally affected by it in some way. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is not a disease or syndrome, it is a virus that has a risk of eventually leading to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Back when HIV was first discovered, it was almost always a certain death sentence, but thankfully, times have changed.
Approximately 38 million people across the world are living full lives with HIV thanks to a series of specific medications that can manage the virus, but not cure it. If you test positive for HIV, there is a good chance, if treated early enough, that it will never progress to AIDS.
HIV can be transmitted in a variety of ways, not just through sexual intercourse, as even pregnant women can pass it on to their unborn babies. Bodily fluids, and blood, pose a major risk of transmitting the virus. STD prevention and education are the best defense against contracting this virus.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is a terrible syndrome that affects the immune system, slowly eating away at it with no known way to stop it. If a patient has reached stage 3 of HIV, AIDS has set in, and it is only a matter of time before it overtakes them. When this stage of the virus sets in, medical professionals can only do so much and make the person comfortable.
There are some people who live long lives while battling AIDS, as sometimes certain people fight it better than others. Yet, as soon as a stage 3 HIV diagnosis is certain, the age expectancy of the patient plummets.
Free Testing For STDs is Essential In The Battle Against HIV And AIDS
The only way to know for sure if you have contracted the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is to get regular testing along with an STD screening. Even if you are not currently sexually active, or have a monogamous relationship, it is still essential to get tested on a regular basis, as HIV can be transmitted in a variety of ways. Talk to our team at Hope Across the Globe about getting tested and screened regularly for STDs and STIs, to protect yourself and everyone else you come in physical contact with.