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HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
HIV targets and infects the immune system which protects us from illnesses. Eventually HIV weakens the immune system, making the infected person vulnerable to illness.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV causes AIDS by attacking the immune system. The infected individual is less able to fight off infection and can develop serious, often deadly, infections. These are called opportunistic infections - because they take advantage of the body's weakened defences.
When someone dies of AIDS, it is usually opportunistic infections or other long-term effects of HIV infection that cause death.
You don't have AIDS as soon as you are infected with HIV. You can be HIV+ for many years with no signs of disease, or only mild-to-moderate symptoms. But without treatment, HIV will eventually wear down the immune system in most people to the point that they develop more serious Opportunistic Infections.
If you have symptoms you should get yourself tested to avoid infection developing and from transferring it to someone else.