Diseases have devastated people on a global level since ancient times. The most destructive diseases on a global level are AIDS and malaria.
Both diseases have different origins, causes, symptoms, and treatments but have the potential to kill millions of people at a mass level. Nations like Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa are most affected by these diseases.
- HIV causes AIDS, while Plasmodium parasites cause malaria.
- AIDS transmission occurs through blood, sexual contact, or from mother to child; malaria spreads through infected mosquito bites.
- AIDS weakens the immune system, while malaria affects red blood cells and liver cells.
AIDS vs Malaria
AIDS is a health condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus and attacks the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off infections and diseases. Malaria is a health condition that is caused by a parasite transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.
AIDS is an advanced stage of HIV. It interferes with the body’s ability to fight other infections and diseases. It affects the white blood cells of the body, which are an essential part of the immune system of the body.
It is a chronic disease and can last for lifelong. There is no complete cure for the disease, but it can be slowed down with the use of medications.
While malaria is not only caused by insect bites but also through travel to areas where malaria is common or by the usage of the same needles and syringes.
It affects the liver and the red blood cells of the body. The symptoms appear within a few weeks and can progress to being fatal and thus requires emergency medical care.
|Parameters of comparison
|Sexual contact or contact with infected blood that contains HIV
|Bite of an anopheles mosquito that carries Plasmodium parasite
|Persistent fever, swollen lymph glands diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, white spots or lesion on the tongue and mouth, and formation of skin rashes
|High fever, headache, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting bloody stools, and muscle pain
|Neurological complications like confusion and anxiety, chronic weakness, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and even fracture risk
|Swelling of blood vessels, anemia, low blood sugar, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and even organ failure of vital organs like kidney and liver
|There is no cure for AIDS but antiretroviral regimens (ARVs) can help
|No vaccine is yet developed but medications can help
|Abstinence, avoid unprotected sex, and never share needles, syringes, and other pieces of equipment
|By not sharing needles and syringes, sleeping under the mosquito net, covering the skin, and application of bug sprays
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and is the advanced stage of HIV. It affects the immune system, and the body loses the ability to fight any infection or disease.
The mode of transmission of HIV is through sexual contact or contact with infected blood. It can spread from mother to child during pregnancy also.
Other sources are by sharing infected needles, transfusion of infected blood, through IV drugs, or having spores of previous STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection).
Patients infected with HIV develop AIDS in the later stages if not treated initially. HIV has the potential to destroy and reduce the number of CD4 T-cells. The CD4 T-cells are white blood cells that play a crucial part in the immune system in the body.
The symptoms of AIDS are persistent fever, swollen lymph glands, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness, white spots or lesion on the tongue and mouth, and the formation of skin rashes.
AIDS has no proper treatment yet, but medications can slow down the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of death too. People with HIV are advised to do ART (Antiretroviral Therapy).
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito which carries the Plasmodium parasite. The mosquito is an Anopheles mosquito, which releases the parasite in the bloodstream while biting.
The parasites infect the liver and the red blood cells of the body. Malaria is of four types depending upon the type of parasite – Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. malaria, and P. falciparum.
Malaria is common among people living in tropical and subtropical climates because the climate is suitable for parasites to live and grow.
The mode of transmission can be through a mosquito bite, organ transplant, usage of shared needles, or a blood transfusion from an infected individual.
The symptoms of malaria are high fever, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stools, and muscle pain. There are even instances where the disease did not have any major symptoms.
Malaria can be diagnosed with blood tests and ultrasound. Though there is no vaccine for the disease, it can be treated with effective medications as prescribed by the doctor.
Malaria can even have several complications if not treated in the early stages. The complications can include swelling of blood vessels, anaemia, low blood sugar, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and even organ failure of vital organs like kidneys and liver.
Main Differences Between AIDS and Malaria
- AIDS can spread faster, while malaria is endemic and only prevalent in areas where infected mosquitoes can grow.
- AIDS affects the immune system of the human body, while malaria is an infectious disease that affects the liver and the red blood cells of the body.
- AIDS can spread through sexual contact or contact with infected blood, while malaria can spread through the bite of a female anopheles mosquito.
- AIDS can become uncontrollable while malaria spreads in a specific population and can be controlled.
- AIDS can cause neurological complications, cardiovascular disease, and chronic weakness, while malaria can cause long-term retinal problems, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and even organ failure.
Last Updated : 21 August, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.