HIV/AIDS Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the HIV/AIDS article.

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Acquired: Not inherited, or present at birth (congenital), but developing after birth. For...

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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: AIDS. AIDS is a disease due to infection with the huma...

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Acute HIV infection: The body's initial reaction to infection by the HIV virus. Acute HIV ...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Antibiotic: A drug used to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viral...

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Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Antiretroviral: An agent or process effective against a retrovirus. For example, a drug to...

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Assay: An assay is an analysis done to determine:

  1. The presence of a substance an...

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Asymptomatic: Without symptoms. For example, an asymptomatic infection is an infection wit...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

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Bacterial vaginosis: A vaginal condition characterized by an abnormal vaginal discharge du...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Breastfeeding: Feeding a child human breast milk. According to the American Academy of Ped...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US agency charged with tracking a...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The US agency charged with tracking and invest...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chlamydia: The agent of a sexually transmitted disease, a type of bacteria found in the ce...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Circulation: In medicine, the movement of fluid through the body in a regular or circuitou...

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Contagious: capable of being transmitted from one human to another human via direct or ind...

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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mell...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. One of two types of molecules that encode genetic information...

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Donor: The giver of a tissue or an organ, such as a blood donor or kidney donor.

ELISA: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, a rapid immunochemical test that involves an enz...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Enzyme: Proteins that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction in a living organism. An e...

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Epidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community...

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Esophagus: The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. The esophagus lie...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after concep...

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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37...

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Finger prick: A procedure in which a finger is pricked with a lancet to obtain a small qua...

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Fungi: Plural of fungus.

Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

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Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nee...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

Genital: Pertaining to the external and/or internal organs of reproduction.

Genital herpes: An infection by human herpes virus that is transmitted through intimate co...

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Gonorrhea: A bacterial infection that is transmitted by sexual contact. Gonorrhea is one o...

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HAART: Stands for highly active antiretroviral therapy....

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the cause. Hepatitis is caused by a ...

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Hepatitis C: Inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usuall...

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Herpes: A family of viruses. Herpes also refers to infection with one of the human herpesv...

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Heterosexual: A person sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex. Or a person who...

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Histoplasmosis: A disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Most people with hi...

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HIV: Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodefi...

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HIV test: A test for the human immunodeficiency virus, the cause of AIDS. HIV tests are de...

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HPV: Human papillomavirus.

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Human immunodeficiency virus: HIV, the cause of AIDS. HIV has also previously been called ...

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Human papillomavirus: HPV. A family of over 100 viruses including those which cause warts ...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Immunodeficiency: The inability to form a normal immune response. Immunodeficiency can be ...

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Indication: 1. In medicine, a condition which makes a particular treatment or proce...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Insulin: A natural hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of the sugar gluco...

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Labor: Childbirth, the process of delivering a baby and the placenta, membranes, and umbil...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Lymphoid: Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, or to tissue in which lymp...

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Lymphoid tissue: The part of the body's immune system that is important for the immune res...

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Lymphoma: A tumor of the lymphoid tissue. The major types of lymphoma are Hodgkin's diseas...

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Maternal: 1. Pertaining to the mother as, for example, the maternal mortality rate....

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Mortality: Susceptible to death.

Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Nucleotide: A subunit of DNA or RNA that consists of a nitrogenous base (A, G, T, or C in ...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pancreas: A spongy, tube-shaped organ that is about 6 inches long and is located in the ba...

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Penis: The external male sex organ. The penis contains two chambers, the corpora cavernosa...

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Perinatal: Pertaining to the period immediately before and after birth. The perinatal peri...

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Plasma: The liquid part of the blood and lymphatic fluid, which makes up about half of the...

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Pneumocystis: Pneumocystis jiroveci (previously classified as Pneumocystis carinii), the o...

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Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneum...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

Primary HIV infection: The first few months after infection with HIV (the human immunodefi...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Prophylaxis: The prevention of disease.

Protease: An enzyme that can split a protein into the peptides from which it was originall...

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Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Recipient: In medicine, someone who is given something, such as a blood transfusion or an ...

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Rectum: The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until...

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Replication: A turning back, repetition, duplication, reproduction.

Resistance: Opposition to something, or the ability to withstand something. For example, s...

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Reverse transcriptase: An enzyme that permits DNA to be made, using RNA as the template. A...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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RNA: Ribonucleic acid.

Safer sex: See: Safe sex.

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Saliva: a watery secretion in the mouth produced by the salivary glands that aids in the d...

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Sarcoma: One of a group of tumors usually arising from connective tissue. Most sarcomas ar...

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Semen: The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of flu...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, inclu...

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Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Stem cell: One of the human body's master cells, with the ability to grow into any one of ...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Swallowing tube: Descriptive term for the esophagus. See: Esophagus.

Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease caused by Treponema pallidum, a microscopic orga...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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Tiredness: See: Tired.

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Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. ...

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Transfusion: The transfer of blood or blood products from one person (the donor) into the ...

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Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bu...

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Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

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Vagina: The muscular canal that extends from the cervix to the outside of the body. It is ...

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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, if a person has a viral rash, the rash wa...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Vulva: The female external genital organs, including the labia, clitoris, and entrance to ...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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Western blot: A technique in molecular biology that is used to separate and identify parti...

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Wheezing: A whistling noise in the chest during breathing. Wheezing occurs when the airway...

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White blood cell: One of the cells the body makes to help fight infections. There are seve...

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Yeast infection: Overgrowth of yeast can affect the skin (yeast rash), mouth (thrush), di...

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Zidovudine: See: AZT.

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