National AIDS Resource Center

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The following glossary lists key definitions for HIV, AIDS, reproductive health, medical conditions and pharmaceuticals (medications or drugs) related to HIV and AIDS.

There are 420 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
3TC

An ARV medication (lamivudine) sometimes combined with AZT.

ABC

HIV prevention strategic practices of: A- Abstain from sexual intercourse; B- Be faithful to one partner; C- using condoms.

Abstinence

The voluntary act of doing without something. In reference to AIDS, it means refraining from any form of sexual contact or intravenous drug use.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

(Also known as "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome"). A medical condition where a person's immune system has progressively weakened after becoming infected by HIV. This makes the person more susceptible to opportunistic infections that the body's immune system is usually able to combat. A CD4 count less than 200 usually indicates an AIDS diagnosis.

Acute HIV Infection

Also known as primary HIV infection or acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). Which refers to The period of rapid HIV replication that occurs 2 to 4 weeks after initial infection with HIV. Once the virus enters the body, HIV infects a large number of CD4+ T cells and replicates rapidly causing a drop in CD4 cell counts and an increase in HIV levels in the blood. Some, but not all, individuals experience flu-like symptoms during this period of infection. These symptoms are collectively known as AIDS - related complex, symptoms include fever, inflamed lymph nodes, sore throat, and rash. These symptoms may last from a few days to 4 weeks and then go away.

ADC

See AIDS Dementia Complex.

Adherence

The extent to which the patient continues the agreed-upon mode of treatment or intervention as prescribed.

Administration

how a drug or therapy is introduced into the body. Systemic administration means the route that the drug goes throughout the body which includes oral (by mouth), intravenous (injection into the vein, IV), intramuscular (injection into a muscle, MI), intrathecal (injection into the spinal canal), subcutaneous (injection beneath the skin, SQ) and rectal administrations. Local administration means that the drug is applied or introduced into the specific area affected by the disease, such as application directly onto the affected skin surface (topical administration).

Adverse effect

(Also known an "adverse reaction"). An unwanted side effect of a drug or medicine.

Advocacy and Support Group

An organization or group that assists victims or vulnerable individuals and families.

Affected Community

This includes HIV-positive people, persons living with AIDS and other individuals, including their families, friends and advocates, directly impacted by HIV infection and its physical, psychological and sociological ramifications.

Agammaglobulinemia

Absence or low levels of antibodies in the blood. This condition leaves a person vulnerable to infections.

AIDS

See Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AIDS Dementia Complex (ADC)

(Also called "HIV-associated dementia"). A brain malfunction believed to be due to HIV infection in the brain. Symptoms may include speech disorders; memory loss and a loss of concentration; mood changes and depression; poor judgment and the inability to perform normal tasks; and motor difficulties such as ataxia.

AIDS Encephalopathy

Malfunction of the brain as a result of HIV infection. Can occur as part of acute HIV infection or can result from chronic HIV infection.

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