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HIV & AIDS Understand the Difference, Causes, Symptoms, and How To Prevent it.

Updated on April 26, 2023 by allenharper

HIV and AIDS are two terms often used interchangeably, but they differ. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, while AIDS is a condition that develops as a result of advanced HIV infection.

Both HIV and AIDS have significantly impacted the world’s health structure. According to the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. Almost 13 percent don’t know it and need testing.

Let us first understand the real difference and why they both are not the same.

HIV and AIDS

Difference Between HIV and AIDS

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) targets human cells and affects our immunity. It attacks the cells in our body that are present to fight against infection. If left untreated, HIV can cause AIDS. AIDS is a chronic condition that occurs at the last stage of HIV.

HIV makes out bodies vulnerable to infection. When HIV makes your body weak, and it cannot fight with infection, that is when AIDS rises. It completely damages your immune system’s strength, making it difficult to fight the virus.

With proper medication for HIV, people can live for more years than they would without any treatment. If a patient does not opt for any treatment for HIV, the life expectancy is around 3 years.

How do you know if you have HIV?

The best and only way to know if HIV infects you is by doing a test by doctors. You can ask for an HIV test from your healthcare provider, and they will conduct a test to check your body and detect if HIV infects you.

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV spreads through unprotected sex or by sharing injections or body fluids of a person infected with HIV. A person infected by HIV is most likely to transmit it to another person through fluids. These fluids are the following:
  • Rectal fluids
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Breast milk
  • Pre-semen
  • Semen
If these fluids go into the bloodstream of a person not infected by HIV, then the person is more likely to get infected. These fluids can pass through the mucous membranes, open cuts, sores, or injections directly into the blood. The most common way of HIV transmission is through sexual activities or by injecting needles of infected persons into the non-infected person. Other ways are when an infected mother of HIV breastfeeds or delivers a baby.

Other Ways of Transmission

There are rare cases through which HIV can be transmitted. These are oral sex, getting blood products, transfusion, or organ transplants. Contact between blood in wounded skin is also a rare case of transmitting HIV. When a mother infected by HIV breastfeeds the baby, then there are chances of transmission.

Symptoms of HIV

An HIV-infected person may see the following symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Rashes
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
The mentioned symptoms are not permanent at the start and may come and go. The symptoms arrive at the acute HIV stage, so you can get it tested and start the treatment. If, at this stage, the symptoms are not treated, it will affect the immune system quickly and damage it.
symptoms of HIV

Treatment

Doctors are not able to find a cure for HIV. This condition is not completely curable but manageable. One can manage the condition by taking early treatments. Patients with HIV do not live longer when left untreated or if detected late.

However, if you start taking treatment at an early stage, you can live longer. The treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy, under which you can start treatment and decrease the chances of further transmitting it to others. Leading a quality life is essential while you take treatment, as it is never cured.

Medical cannabis has been found to be helpful in alleviating various symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS. Patients using medical cannabis to manage HIV symptoms have reported benefits such as:

  • Decreased pain – HIV patients often feel a burning sensation on the skin. This often resulted in a lot of pain, but the use of cannabis eased this out.
  • Balanced appetite – A loss of appetite is often a wasting syndrome of AIDS. Medical cannabis can help recover this and avoid loss of weight.
  • Nausea – Patients can experience nausea and vomiting when cannabis can help avoid the feeling and calms them down.
  • The mood is improved – Serious health conditions like HIV can have a long-lasting impact on the patient’s mind. Cannabis treatment is proven to help reduce depression and stress from the condition.

    Marijuana Strains that are Best for HIV/AIDS

    1. GG4 – This cannabis strain is helpful in relieving muscle pain. HIV can greatly impact your mind, and this strain will help you pick up your mood. 2. Diamond OG – It is the best cannabis strain to eliminate the stress in this condition. The discomfort you get from HIV is unbearable, and the pain, too, this strain helps best in this case. 3. Mango kush- Patients suffering from loss of appetite are able to have a balanced appetite and prevent weight loss. 4. White willow – Fatigue is very well controlled with this strain. 5. Critical Sensi star – This strain can ease your nausea.

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