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HIV vs. AIDS Know The Difference

By Dontaira Terrell
Posted On Mar 10, 2016
HIV vs. AIDS Know The Difference

Do you know your status? Whether you are dating or involved in a monogamous relationship it is important to get tested. Remember your health is your wealth! Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and according to AIDS.gov it is “an annual observance to recognize the impact of HIV on women and girls.” To coincide with this year’s theme, “The Best Defense Is a Good Offense,” we have comprised a few reasons why it is important to know your status, and the pros of getting tested!


  • The CDC states, “if you find out you’re HIV-positive, getting treated for HIV improves your health, prolongs your life, and greatly lowers your chance of spreading HIV to others.”
  • If a woman is diagnosed and begins treatment for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be 2% or less.
  • HIV testing is free, fast, and confidential.
  • For HIV testing sites and care services within your area, download the locator app or visit AIDS.gov for a location based search.


Being HIV positive can and has been negatively looked upon for decades as an immediate death sentence. However, there is a huge difference in distinguishing the HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Neither of the two should be associated as being one in the same. Patients who pass away of AIDS do not necessarily die from the condition itself but from opportunistic infections (Ols).

According to AIDS.org, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The acronym for both conditions are as follows:


H (Human)- Stands for Human because it can only affect human beings.

I (Immuno- Deficiency)- One of the long term effects of the virus is that it triggers a deficiency within the person’s immune system to work improperly.

V (Virus)- It replicates by controlling the human microorganisms.



A (Acquired)-  The condition is not genetic. A person must acquire or become infected with it.

I (Immune)- It affects the body’s entire immune system which usually fights off various germs such as bacterial infections and viruses.

D (Deficiency)- The immune system fails to work properly causing it to become deficient.

S (Syndrome)- A person living with AIDS may or may not experience various health complications that stem from the syndrome.

There have been many medical breakthroughs and advancements of educational resources to help individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Ray Martins, Chief Medical Officer of Whitman-Walker Health said, “It means likely you can have a normal lifespan and have a similar life to someone who does not have HIV,” when asked what it means for someone living with HIV today.

The HIV virus can be controlled in many ways but one thing that can’t be controlled is the strain of HIV contracted.

Below are some common signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS: 


  • Night sweats
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rashes and bumps
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Yeast infections


  • Being HIV positive
  • A CD4 count below 200 cells per cubic millimeter
  • Severe headaches
  • Seizures
  • Loss of vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of coordination

It’s important not to criminalize those who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. There are various support groups, modern day research, treatments and a wealth of information to educate and enlighten those who are personally combatting this virus or who know a loved one with HIV/AIDS. Your health comes first, know your status, get tested and remember you are not alone.