Both types of HIV damage a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.
AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Even in my recent memory, people often succumbed to a deleterious progression from HIV to AIDS in a short time span.
Since the development of certain highly active combinations of medications in the 1990’s, people fare better, for far longer. Even people who aren’t in the end stages of HIV or in the throes of AIDS would do well on many of the currently used medications.
Since there are so many other diseases and health risks associated with HIV, left untreated a person could experience cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer.