World AIDS Day 2022 : World AIDS Day What is the difference between AIDS and HIV?

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World AIDS Day 2022 : Many people use HIV and AIDS interchangeably, it is important to understand that both terms are different and have different meanings. On the occasion of this World AIDS Day, President of AIDS Society of India and Consultant on HIV in Infectious Diseases Dr. Ishwar Gilada has told about the stages of transformation of HIV into AIDS.  According to data recently released by NACO, 1.7 million people were infected with HIV between 2011 and 2021. Although HIV infection rates have been declining over the years, Maharashtra is one of the top states with the highest number of people infected with HIV, with the number of people living with HIV during the period 2011 to 2021 at 2.8 lakh. Therefore, there is a need to create awareness about the infection of this virus and how HIV infection turns into  AIDS. First, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system of a person, transmitted through infected blood, vaginal fluid or semen. If left untreated, the viral infection progresses to the next stage, which can generally be divided into three stages –

Stage 1: Acute HIV infection
This is the first and initial stage of HIV. , which develops within 4 to 8 weeks after infection with the virus. In this stage, the virus attacks and destroys infection-fighting cells called immune cells. During this stage, the number of HIV viruses in the blood and then in the organs of the human body increases rapidly.  Then the patient may experience common symptoms like fever, flu, sore throat, nausea and headache etc. This phase is also called the seroconversion period, during which the body fights the virus and shows a natural response to the viral attack. However, most infected individuals may not notice or experience anything.  Therefore many patients are not diagnosed at this stage. In this stage, a person infected with HIV is highly contagious and is more likely to spread the virus, because the person does not know he or she is infected.

Stage 2: Acute HIV infection >
This is the second stage in which the number of viruses multiply in the human body, albeit at a slower rate. Most patients are diagnosed at this stage. If not diagnosed early and treated on time, the virus multiplies and further damages the immune system. 

Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
This is the last and most advanced stage of HIV, in which the person’s immune system is completely destroyed and fails to effectively fight the virus. During this phase, many may have to fight more severe infections, in which other infections invade the body as the immune system weakens. In this stage, the person has a large amount of virus in their body and the person can spread the virus to other people very easily. 

HIV can be prevented if diagnosed early. ‘test and treat’ In today’s era of this policy, prompt treatment of HIV is essential. With effective treatment, individuals who are infected with the HIV virus can become ‘‘undetectable = untransmittable’’ Or by understanding the U=U issue, one can live a healthy and long life without spreading the infection to their sexual partner or children.

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