The best way to understand the difference between HIV and AIDS is to consider AIDS as the final stage of HIV, which is a virus. The symptoms can be different for each individual that is stricken with HIV and AIDS. It should not be automatically assumed because an individual has been diagnosed with HIV that they automatically have AIDS.
What makes HIV so devastating is that although the body can usually rid itself of viruses, HIV is one virus that the body’s own defense system cannot totally destroy. This virus makes the individual affected with it subject to all kinds of infections because it weakens the natural immune system of the individual infected.
AIDS is as a result of the HIV virus. This is the condition that the HIV virus leads to. The symptoms that AIDS presents with are normally dependent on the infection that the HIV has left the person open to contracting. HIV has transitioned into AIDS as a result of the damage that the HIV has done to the immune system where this system can no longer fight off various infections. These infections have a large range and can include pneumonia, TB, and even cancer.
What has to be realized is that it is not a definite fact that HIV will turn into AIDS. While the testing for HIV has become simple the same cannot be said about AIDS. It can be difficult to know when the disease has progressed to the AIDS stage. The test most relied on to determine this is by testing the count for the CD4 cells. Those with HIV normally have between 500 to 1,200 of these cells, but if the count drops to less than 200 then the diagnosis is changed from HIV to AIDS in most cases. Also the symptoms that are are appearing will help with the diagnosis.