What is the difference between AIDS and HIV?
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is the etiologic virus that causes the syndrome of AIDS. HIV infection was first identified in the United States in the early 1980's. Initially, the virus was only thought to infect homosexual men but that notion quickly changed because heterosexual people were also becoming infected.
The virus of HIV attacks the immune system of the body. When the immune system is weakened the body loses the ability to ward off microorganisms and diseases. HIV infection means that the virus is present. AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease state that overcomes the body when the HIV infection progresses. AIDS is characterized by weight loss, cachexia-a wasting away syndrome, and susceptibility to infection.