HIV & AIDS: what’s the difference?

Dr. Leandro explains HIV, AIDS, and how they’re connected.

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that attacks a key part of the immune system – the T-cells or CD4 cells – which help defend the body against illness. Left untreated, HIV can destroy so many CD4 cells that the body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV can lead to an AIDS diagnosis.

AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a clinical diagnosis that indicates an advanced stage of HIV.

Not everyone who has HIV progresses to AIDS. A person with HIV who is on antiretroviral (ARV) medication and in ongoing medical care can live a normal, healthy lifespan and have children without HIV. In addition to improving health, ARVs also prevent the spread of the virus.

Click here for more information in HIV basics. 

#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than AIDS featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Always consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

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