Positively Adopted

Life with children who have HIV

What's the difference between HIV and AIDS?

  • AIDS really just means a more advanced stage of HIV.

Healthy, HIV negative adults have a cd4 count of between 500 and 1,500. 


When a person with an HIV-weakened immune system has a cd4 (or T cell) count below 200, or if that person comes down with one or more rare 'opportunistic infections', he may be diagnosed by a doctor as having AIDS.


  • "AIDS" stands for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome." The "syndrome" part means that AIDS is not a single disease but a collection of diseases. 

Proper treatment, however, can prevent HIV from turning into AIDS and can restore the health of people with AIDS.


Of the over 1 million people living in the U.S. today with HIV, most do not have AIDS.1 

1U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

"AIDS is the most advanced stage of infection caused by HIV. Most people who are HIV positive do not have AIDS. 


An HIV-positive person is said to have AIDS when his or her immune system becomes so weak it can't fight off certain kinds of infections and cancers." 


- US Office of Public Health