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Understanding HIV and AIDS

Written by
Dr. Vasantha K S
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Nov 27, 2017 and last reviewed on Jan 24, 2019   -  3 min read


This article explains the difference between HIV and AIDS and how you can protect yourself from this life-threatening infection.

Understanding HIV and AIDS

What Is HIV?

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system by destroying a type of white blood cells (called as CD4 cells) by making copies of itself inside these cells. As the primary function of these CD4 cells is to defend the body from illnesses, it gets progressively harder for a person affected by this virus to fight off even minor infections and diseases, let alone cancer.

HIV Fast Facts

What is AIDS?

AIDS refers to a set of symptoms caused by the HIV virus. To determine if the person has AIDS, the criteria is a CD4 cell count of fewer than 200 cells per mm3. In a normal healthy individual, the same would range between 500 to 1,600 cells. Without treatment, HIV worsens in three stages namely- acute HIV infection, clinical latency, and finally AIDS.

AIDS Fast Facts

Early Symptoms of HIV

  1. Fevers and chills.
  2. Joint pain.
  3. Fatigue and malaise.
  4. Rashes.
  5. Sore throat.
  6. Night sweats.
  7. Enlarged lymph nodes.
  8. Mouth ulcers.
  9. Rapid weight loss.

Testing for HIV

Research shows that the earlier the HIV is detected, the sooner the ART therapy can be started, and better is the viral load control and hence, the quality of life. So, regular testing for HIV is important. Knowing your HIV status is also necessary to prevent spreading the infection to others.

Prevention of HIV

For more information consult an HIV AIDS specialist online -->


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Last reviewed at:
24 Jan 2019  -  3 min read




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