Under the extensive umbrella of sexually transmitted diseases, there are STI's and STD's. STI's are infections which are curable, while STD's are diseases with no cure. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is an STD that has, to date, claimed over 40 million lives. HIV is transmitted in three ways: unprotected sex, blood to blood contact, and mother to her unborn or breastfeeding infant. .
The difference between HIV and AIDS is simple; HIV is the virus contracted through the one of the three modes of transmission, while AIDS is the diagnosis of HIV's weakening of the immune system. An AIDS diagnosis is determined by how many T-Cells (White Blood Cells) are present in an infected person. T-Cells, which are the "guardians" of our immune systems, are used by HIV to replicate themselves. When a body's T-cell count reaches 200 or less, an AIDS diagnosis is given and is an indicator that the person's health may eventually deteriorate. Once a person has been issued an AIDS diagnosis, he/she will never person be free of the disease, regardless of how healthy their T-cells increase.
The origin of HIV/AIDS is unknown, though many scientists believe that the virus/disease originated in Africa and, from there, spread throughout the world. It's been found that the African Rhesus Monkey, can carry and STI which some believe has experienced a mutation into the HIV virus, leading to AIDS. .
The first documented cases of HIV/AIDS were in the United States; New York and California, in 1981. All cases were documented to be in young, white, gay males. Recently, frozen blood samples from 1958 showed that the HIV infection existed before the first discovered cases were in the 80's. It was first believed that HIV/AIDS only affected the Gay population. Early names for HIV/AIDS included: (a) GRID, (b) GAY Cancer,(c) Community-acquired immune dysfunction,(d) AID (acquired immunodeficiency disease).