There seems to be a notable ignorance as to the difference between the meaning of HIV and AIDS, as both are quite frequently spoken of within the same context. However, although both HIV and AIDS are related to one another, they are actually quite significantly different in terms as to what they mean to a sufferer.
First we will explain as to how someone can get diagnosed as having HIV.
HIV (the infection [virus]) – is commonly caught through close bodily contact, where there is an exchange of body fluids (blood, semen, or vaginal secretions) usually with an infected person. That is to say – where one person is actually infected with the disease in the first place, and usually where unprotected sex (without the use of a preservative [condom]) has taken place.
99% of HIV infections result from having unprotected sex with someone, or sharing a needle (usually for injecting drugs [drug addicts]). However, a new-born baby can also be born with HIV if it’s mother was infected previously, and did not take any form of antiretroviral therapy during her pregnancy.
That is to say – virtually all forms of sexual contact where there is an exchange of body fluids can result in someone being diagnosed with HIV; however, it is not the same case with kissing (there is no evidence to indicate that HIV can be passed-on through the exchange of saliva).
Forms of body fluid exchanges include: vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex (natural), and as previously mentioned, through sharing needles.
The term HIV is when someone actually has the infection, and HIV Positive is when someone is diagnosed with it.
H – Human: this is because it is believed that the virus can only infect human beings.
I – Immunodeficiency: this is because the effect of the virus creates a deficiency (a failure to work properly) within the body’s immune system.
V – Virus: this is because the organism (the infection) is a virus. A virus does not reproduce itself, although it does reproduce by taking control of the workings of the human cells.
Human (H) Immunodeficiency (I) Virus (V) = HIV
And secondly we will explain as to what happens for HIV to become AIDS.
AIDS – is when one of two things happens:
1. The CD4 count of a HIV infected person drops below 200/cc (a CD4 count below 200 cells/cc is called AIDS by definition [200 was chosen as a cut-off point for AIDS because most HIV-related infections or cancers are already present in patients who have less that 200 CD4 cells]).
2. If a HIV infected person develops either a HIV-related infection, or a HIV-related cancer, HIV becomes known as AIDS.
A – Acquired: this is because the condition is acquired by someone (gets infected with) and not something that can be transmitted through genes.
I – Immune: this is because it affects the body’s immune system (the immune system is that which fights off disease [germs such as bacteria or viruses]).
D – Deficiency: this is because the virus makes the immune system deficient (makes the body not work properly).
S – Syndrome: this is because someone who has the development of AIDS usually experiences a wide-range of different diseases.
Acquired (A) Immune (I) Deficiency (D) Syndrome (S) = AIDS
Note: However, it should also be noted that HIV is not a GAY disease – “a common myth” – as ALL who engage in activities that may result in close bodily contact where there may be an exchange of body fluids (unprotected sex, needle sharing) are at risk from being infected by the disease. HIV does NOT discriminate: that is to say – if the shoe fits, anyone can be forced to wear it.
So the answer to the question is quite categorically, NO!