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AIDS

Glossary: AIDS

Sunday, April 21, 2013 - 14:47

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to AIDS.

AIDS: Acquired immunodeficiency (or immune deficiency) syndrome, an advanced stage of a viral infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Antibodies: Proteins produced by the immune system to fight infectious agents, such as viruses

Antigen: A substance that stimulates the production of antibodies

Antiretroviral drugs: Chemicals that inhibit the replication of retroviruses, such as HIV

Asymptomatic: Having no symptoms

Autoimmune disorder: Illness that results when the immune system attacks an individual's own tissues or cells

AZT: An antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV infection; also called zidovudine

B lymphocytes: White blood cells that mature in the bone marrow and produce antibodies; also called B cells.

Bisexual: A person who is attracted to and/or has sex with both men and women

Cesarean section: The delivery of a baby through a surgical incision through the abdominal wall and the uterus

Candidiasis: An infection, usually caused by the yeastlike fungusCandidaalbicans, that occurs in the mouth, vagina, and other moist areas of the body

CD4: A protein displayed on the surface of a certain human immune cells. HIV recognizes, attaches to, and infects cells bearing CD4 on their surface

Condom: A sheath, usually made of latex, designed to cover the penis during sexual intercourse to help prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV

Dendritic cells: Immune cells that may bind to HIV after sexual exposure and carry the virus from the site of infection to the lymph nodes

Dental dams: Squares of latex, originally used for dental work, now commonly recommended for safe oral sex

Dildo: A sex toy, usually made of silicone or rubber, that is inserted into the vagina or the anus

Enzyme immunoassay (EIA): A test used to detect HIV antibodies in a blood sample

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA): A test used to detect HIV antibodies in a blood sample

Herpes simplex virus: Human viruses responsible for blister-like lesions around the mouth and lips, the anus, or the genital area

Heterosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to and/or has sex with someone of the opposite sex

HIV: The human immunodeficiency virus, a retrovirus recognized as the cause of AIDS

Homosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to and/or has sex with someone of the same sex

Immunity: The body's ability to resist infection

Injection drugs: Drugs such as heroin or morphine that are injected through a syringe and needle into a vein

Kaposi's sarcoma: A cancerous tumor that arises from blood vessels in the skin, which occurs in some people with HIV and AIDS

K-Y Jelly: A water-based lubricant used with latex materials such as condoms

Latex: A synthetic rubber used in products such as gloves and condoms, to provide a barrier to infection

Lymph nodes/lymph glands: Small, round or oval bodies connected by a network of vessels; they help remove bacteria and foreign particles from the circulation, and play a role in the body's immune defenses

Lymphocytes: White blood cells that play a key role in the body's disease-fighting immune response

Lymphocytes: White blood cells that play key roles in the body's immune defenses; The two main types of lymphocytes are B lymphocytes (also called B cells) and T lymphocytes (also called T cells)

Macrophages: Specialized white blood cells that play many roles in the immune response, including engulfing and digesting bacteria and other microbes, alerting other immune cells, and producing chemicals needed for immune responses to disease threats

Opportunistic infections: Infections (rarely seen in healthy people) that that occur when a person's immune system is weakened due to HIV, cancer, or drugs that suppress the body's immune response

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): A gynecologic condition caused by infection of a woman's reproductive organs; it may cause severe abdominal pain and sterility

Phagocytosis: The process by which macrophages and other specialized cells engulf and digest of bacteria and other foreign particles

Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: A type of pneumonia (lung inflammation) caused by a microbe called Pneumocystiscarinii, seen in people with impaired immunity

Protease inhibitors: Drugs that suppress HIV replication by interfering with an HIV enzyme called protease

Reverse transcriptase: An HIV enzyme that the virus requires to reproduce itself

Sex toys: Devices used for sexual pleasure, such as vibrators and dildos

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Diseases caused by infectious agents that are transmitted through sexual contact, such as HIV/AIDS, chlamydia infection, syphilis, and gonorrhea

Spermicide: A substance that deactivates sperm cells and is used for birth control

T lymphocytes: A family of specialized white blood cells that help orchestrate the body's immune responses and attack cells that are infected or cancerous

Thrush: Oral candidiasis, an infection of the mouth caused by caused by the yeast-like fungus Candidaalbicans

Transfusion: The injection of whole blood, plasma, or another solution into a patient's bloodstream

Virus: A disease-causing microbe that can replicate only in the living cells of other organisms

Western blot: A test used to diagnose HIV infection by detecting antibodies to HIV in a person's blood; this test is commonly used to confirm a less-sensitive HIV antibody test

 

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