Is HIV a disease?Watch
When infected by HIV, the body can respond in a number of ways. In some cases, the infection is completely suppressed, just as sometimes, we can get infected by a flu virus and never even know we had it - our immune system clears it spontaneously.
Sometimes, the infection takes hold and produces various signs of damage to our systems.
There are a number of possible diagnoses that we can have as a result of HIV infection, but by far the best known is called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome - AIDS. You are diagnosed as having AIDS when you have HIV infection, plus a variety of "AIDS defining conditions", such as:
- Candidiasis of the esophagus, bronchi, trachea, or lungs [(but NOT the mouth (thrush)]
- Coccidioidomycosis, disseminated or extrapulmonary
- Cryptosporidiosis, chronic intestinal (greater than one month's duration)
- Cytomegalovirus retinitis (with loss of vision)......
(....the list goes on)
So HIV is the causative agent for a number of diseases, but is not a disease in itself. AIDS is called a syndrome because it presents as a collection of different signs and symptoms; the underlying cause is infection with HIV, which triggers or causes other infections or disease processes to take hold.