What is the difference between HIV and AIDS

The word ‘AIDS’ is often misquoted by many people including the general media.

AIDS stands for Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and is not the same as HIV. In fact, in the UK, we rarely use the term AIDS, but use the term Advanced HIV instead.

The term AIDS is correctly used to describe a situation when someone’s immune system has been severely weakened by the virus HIV. As this person’s immune system is damaged, they are more likely to pick up other infections and diseases. Common infections include PCP (a certain type of pneumonias called Pneumocystis pneumonia), Tuberculosis and certain cancers (for example the skin cancer Kaposi's Sarcoma [KS]). These infections are also known as opportunistic infections as they are rarely seen in people with healthy immune systems.

A common misconception is that AIDS can be passed on. This is not the case. HIV, the virus which can lead to AIDS (Advanced HIV), can be passed between individuals, but AIDS is merely a term used to describe a collection of illnesses

Living with HIV? Want to talk to us?
Call 0161 274 4499 or email: talk@ght.org.uk