Glossary of HIV/AIDS-Related Terms

Abacavir: A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) antiretroviral drug. Formally known as 1592. Brand name Ziagen.

3TC: A nucleoside analog antiretroviral drug. Also known as, Lamivudine.

Abstinence: Not having sexual intercourse, whether oral, anal or vaginal; being celibate.

Acquired Immunity: See Passive Immunity

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): A result of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. CDC definition of AIDS: Positive HIV serum test and T-cell count of under 200 per milliliter of blood or one or more opportunistic diseases or conditions.

ACTG: AIDS Clinical Trials Group. See

Active Immunity: Resistance resulting from previous exposure to an infectious agent or antigen may be active and specific, as a result of naturally acquired infection or intentional vaccination (artificial active immunity).

Acute: Reaching a crisis quickly; very sharp or severe.

Acyclovir: A drug used to treat herpes. A nucleoside analog antiviral drug.

ADAP: AIDS Drug Assistance Program - A Ryan White Title II program administered by the state.

Adverse Reaction: (Adverse Event.) An unwanted effect detected in clinical trial in participants.

Agammaglobulinemia: A nearly total absence of immunoglobulins. See Antibodies.

AIDS: See Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AIDS Dementia Complex (ADC): The most common central nervous system (CNS) complication of HIV infection, ADC is characterized by a group of clinical presentations including loss of coordination, mood disorders, inability or difficulty in reasoning and loss of inhibitions. Usually occurs in latter stage disease but may occur sooner.

AIDS-Related Complex: A term once used to describe HIV infected individuals who had developed pre-AIDS symptoms.

Amprenavir: A Protease Inhibitor (PI) for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Also called Agenerase.

Analog: In chemistry, a compound with a structure similar to that of another compound but differing from it in respect to certain components or structural makeup, which may have a similar of opposite action metabolically. In HIV treatment a building block (medication) that takes the place of a natural building block needed to synthesize (or build) DNA, there by stopping it from forming.

Anemia: decrease in red blood cells (lower than normal)

Antibiotic: A substance used to combat bacterial infection by killing or slowing the growth of organisms.

Antibody: A substance in the blood formed in response to invading disease agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Antibodies defend the body against invading disease agents. Molecules in the blood or secretory fluids that tag, destroy, or neutralize. They are members of a class of proteins known as immunoglobulins, which are produced and secreted by B-lymphocytes (B-cells).

Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity (ADCC): An immune response in which antibodies bind to target cells, identifying them for attack by the immune system.

Antibody-Mediated immunity: Also called humoral immunity. Immunity that results from the activity of antibodies in blood and lymphoid tissues.

Antibody-negative test result: A test result in which no antibodies to HIV are detected; either the person does not have HIV, or the person has recently become infected with HIV but does not yet have detectable antibodies.

Antibody-positive test result: A test result in which HIV antibodies are detected in the blood.

Antigen: Any substance or agent capable of stimulating an immune (antibody) response.

Antigen-Presenting Cells (APC): Cells that collect foreign material and digests it into pieces that can be recognized by the immune system (helper T-cells). APC's are B cells, macrophages, or dendritic cells.

Antigen test: A blood test that looks for HIV itself, rather than antibodies, can detect HIV in people who were recently infected and do not yet have detectable antibodies. Still in the research stage of development.

Antiviral: Any substance or process that destroys a virus or suppresses its ability to reproduce.

Antiretroviral: Any substance or process that fights a retrovirus. HIV is a retrovirus; AZT, ddI, ddC, 3TC and d4T are some antiretrovirals.

Aphasia: Loss of ability to speak or understand speech.

Apoptosis: "Cellular suicide," also known as programmed cell death. HIV may induce apoptosis in both infected and uninfected immune system cells.

Arthralgia: joint pains

ASO: AIDS Service Organization

Asymptomatic: Having no symptoms, yet known to be infected.

Ataxia: Lack of muscular coordination

Autoimmunization: The induction in an individual of an immune response to its own cells. This term is used to characterize the immune response seen in new HIV patients who have pulsed (starting and stopping) treatment with HAART who see some return of natural HIV immune response.

Autologous blood donation: Blood donated by someone for his or her own later use, usually in elective surgery.

AZT: See Zidovudine.

Bacteria: Microscopic organisms that can cause disease.

Bacterium: A microscopic organism composed of a single cell.

Bacterial infections: The diseases caused by bacteria. Most are responsive to treatment by antibiotics.

Bactrim: An antibiotic drug used to treat pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Base Line: Starting point. Information gathered at the beginning of observation or trial.

B-cell: A type of white blood cell that makes antibodies that fight disease agents in the body. Lymphocyte

BDNA TEST: (bDNA) See Branched DNA Assay.

Bilirubin: A red pigment occurring in liver bile, blood, and urine. Its measurement can be used as an indication of the health of the liver. An elevated level of bilirubin in blood serum is an indication of liver disease or drug-induced liver impairment.

Bioavailability: The extent to which an oral medication is absorbed in the digestive tract and reaches the bloodstream

Bisexual: A person who has sexual contact with members of both sexes; both-sex orientation. Being sexually or non-sexually attracted to members of both sexes.

Blood-borne disease: Infections where the disease-causing agents are carried in the bloodstream.

Blood-clotting factor: Substance in the blood that cases it to thicken and change from a liquid to a solid; used to treat hemophilia.

Blood components: The parts of the blood, including formed elements (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets) and liquid (plasma), which contain proteins used to make clotting factors.

Blood testing: Extracting and examining a small amount of blood to determine blood characteristics and to detect the presence of disease agents or evidence of infection.

Blood-to-blood contact: The mixing together of blood from two (or more) people. Principal ways of transmitting HIV through blood-to-blood contact are shared needles or syringes, blood transfusions, blood components, clotting factors or organ transplants (rare since 1985), and from mother to child before or during birth.

Bone Marrow: Soft tissue located in the cavities of the bones where blood cells such as erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets are formed

Bone Marrow Suppression: A side effect of many anticancer and antiviral drugs, including AZT. Leads to a decrease in white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Such reductions, in turn, result in anemia, bacterial infections, and spontaneous or excess bleeding.

Branched DNA Assay: (bDNA test) A test measuring the amount of HIV (as well as other viruses) in the blood. Developed by Chiron Corporation. The monitoring of bDNA is a good indication of treatment effectiveness. (Also ultra sensitive bDNA measures lower levels per ml of blood)

Candidiasis: A fungal infection, which may occur at several places in the body, including the mouth or throat (thrush), the vagina or on the skin; a common opportunistic condition in people with AIDS.

Casual transmission: Spreading an infection or disease through casual non-intimate contact; not a means of transmitting HIV.

CBO: Community Based Organization - Organization that provides services on a local level.

CCR5/CKR5: Primary co-receptor that enables HIV to infect t-cells in early infection. Although this is the primary co-receptor CXCR4 can be the primary in later infection. So far research has identified nine other co-receptors that can be used.

CD4+: A protein embedded in the cell surface of T-helper (lymphocyte) cells; HIV invades cells by first attaching to the CD4 receptor.

CD4+ count (or, T-cell count): The actual number of T-helper cells in a microliter of blood. The CD4+ count is lower in people whose immune system has been affected by HIV.

CD8+ cells: see Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL)

Cell: The smallest independent unit of life capable of performing all life functions.

Cell-Mediated Immunity (CMI): When the immune system fights infection via cell to cell combat rather than antibody contact. The defense cells used in cell-mediated immunity are killer T-cells, macrophages, and other white blood cells. This is called Cellular Immunity.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Federal health agency that is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services; provides national health and safety guidelines and statistical data on AIDS and other diseases.

Central Nervous System (CNS): The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord. HIV has been found in the fluid surrounding the CNS and is believed to affect the nerves. Once in the CNS, HIV can cause a variety of symptoms, including loss of motor control, headaches, and vision, hearing and speech impairment. (Note: "neurotropic"--attracted to nerves--and can move into the CNS.)

Chronic: A prolonged, lingering or recurring state of disease.

CMV: See Cytomegalovirus infection.

CNS: Central Nervous System

Cofactor: Something that increases a person's susceptibility to infection by HIV and/or disease progression. Possible cofactors include other infections, drug and alcohol use, poor nutrition, genetic factors and stress.

Colitis: Inflammation of the colon

Combination therapy: The use of two or more therapies alternately or simultaneously.

Combivir: A combined pill containing AZT and 3TC.

Community Planning Groups (CPG): Local groups made up of local providers of services, Health Department officials, consumer, faith based organizations, schools etc. that are responsible for coordinating and developing comprehensive HIV prevention plans that will improve the effectiveness of HIV prevention programs.

Communicable disease: A disease that is capable of being transmitted.

Compassionate Use: A means in which to receive experimental treatments that are not yet approved by the FDA. Usually accessed by doctor through drug manufactures. For those who are very sick that have few alternatives.

Condyloma: Genital warts. If not treated can lead to cancer. Caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Condom: A sheath, made of latex, lamb intestine or polyurethane, which fits over the erect penis. When used correctly, a latex condom provides protection against HIV transmission. Condoms are also called rubbers or prophylactics. Female condoms are inserted into the vagina before sexual contact.

Confidential testing: Testing in which test results are linked to persons and recorded in medical files. State laws limit who can have access to the results and under what conditions they can gain access.

Confidentiality: Keeping information private or secret.

Co-Receptor: A group of proteins that have been found to block the entry of HIV into immune cells. Also stated as receptor need for infection to occur.

Connective tissue: The type of tissue that supports and binds together other tissues and organs; frequently the site of Kaposi's sarcoma lesion in people with AIDS.

Creatinine: a protein found in muscles and blood, and excreted by kidneys in the urine. The Level of creatinine in the blood or urine provides a measure of kidney function. It can also indicate the breaking down of muscle tissue.

Crixivan (Indinavir): Protease Inhibitor (PI) used in the treatment of HIV. Antiviral medication

Cryptococcal Meningitis: A life-threatening infection of the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord caused by a fungus (Cryptococcus neoformas). Usually seen only in people with compromised immune systems. The organism can infect almost all organs of the body. Usually found in soil contaminated by bird droppings. Usually breathed, settling in lungs, and spreads from their.

Cryptosporidium: Protozoan parasite found in the intestines of animals, and may be transmitted to humans by direct contact with an infected animal, by eating contaminated food, or by drinking contaminated water. It can cause chronic diarrhea.

Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte (CTL): Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte. White, killer blood cell. They carry the CD8 marker. They destroy infected or abnormal sells that have been marked for destruction via potent chemicals called cytokines. See also Cell-Mediated Immunity

Cunnilingus: Oral stimulation of the vagina.

CXCR4: (also known as Fusin) A cell molecule that acts as a co-receptor for the entry to HIV.

Cytomegalovirus infection (CMV): A viral infection that may occur without any symptoms and may result in mild flu-like symptoms; a common opportunistic infection among people with AIDS, often resulting in blindness.

d4T (Stavudine): An antiretroviral drug used against HIV. A nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase drug. Brand name Zerit

ddC (Zalcitabine): An antiretroviral drug used against HIV; usually used in conjunction with AZT (formerly called dideoxycytidine). A nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase drug. Brand name Hivid

ddI (Didanosine): An antiretroviral drug used against HIV (also called dideoxyinosine). Can cause Pancreatitis. A nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase drug. Brand name VIDEX

Dementia: The loss of mental capacity that affects a person's ability to function.

Dendritic Cells: Large immune system cell that patrols the body for pathogens (germs). They carry the pathogen (in this case HIV) to the lymph nodes to stimulate T cells and initiate an immune response. They may also be responsible for carrying virus to CD4 cells and help cause infection. Dendritic cells are found mostly in external tissues, such as the skin and lining of the gut, lungs and reproductive tract.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA): The molecular chain found in genes within the nucleus of each cell, which carries the genetic information that enables cells to reproduce. DNA is the principal constituent of chromosomes, the structures that transmit hereditary characteristics. The blue print or instructions for all cell function.

DHHS: US Department of Health and Human Services. Internet access:

Diagnosis: Confirmation of illness based on an evaluation of a patient's medical history, symptoms, and laboratory tests.

Disinfectant: A chemical that destroys disease agents; for example, liquid chlorine bleach can be used to clean needles and syringes.

Donor: One who contributes blood, tissue, organs or semen.

Dry kiss: One that does not involve open-mouth contact.

Dysplasia: Any abnormal development of tissues or organs

Dyspnea: difficult or labored breathing

Edema: An abnormal swelling resulting from the accumulation of fluid in the spaces between tissues

Efavirenz (Sustiva): An antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV in combination therapy. A non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. Brand name Efavirenz

Efficacy: How well a drug works

Ejaculation: The spontaneous discharge of semen during orgasm.

ELISA (EIA): Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or Enzyme Immunoassay. A blood test used to detect the presence of antibodies to HIV.

Encephalopathy: dysfunction of the brain

Encephalitis: Swelling of the brain. Viral or microbial in origin.

Enteric: Having to do with intestines

Enteritis: Inflammation of the intestine.

Enzyme: A cellular protein whose shape allows it to hold together several other molecules in close proximity to each other. In this way, enzymes are able to induce chemical reactions in other substances with little expenditure of energy and without being changed themselves. Basically, an enzyme acts as a catalyst.

Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay: See ELISA.

Enzyme Immunoassay:See ELISA.

Epidemic: A rapidly spreading illness or disease in a population.

Epivir: 3TC, Lamivudine. Brand name

Exposure (to HIV): The condition of being physically near or unprotected from contact with HIV; presents the possibility of HIV transmission.

FDA: See Food and Drug Administration.

False-negative test: An antibody test for HIV that shows negative results even though the blood sample contains the virus; uncommon.

False-positive test: An erroneous test result, indicating that infection is present when, in fact, it is not.

Feces: Body waste discharged through the anus.

Fellatio: Oral stimulation of the penis. See Oral Sex.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Federal government agency with several regulatory functions, including testing and approving new drugs before they can be marketed to the public.

Fortovase: Brand name of gel formulation of Saquinavir-a protease inhibitor

French Kiss: An open-mouth or wet kiss.

Fungus: A non-bacterial, non-viral microscopic disease-causing agent; including yeast and molds.

Gancyclovir: A drug used to treat Cytomegalovirus infection.

Gender-neutral terms: Terms that do not refer to a specific gender: for example, "your partner," not "your girlfriend" or "your boyfriend."

Gene: The basic unit of heredity; coded pieces of information in a cell that direct an organism's replication and functioning.

Genotypic Assay: A test that determines if HIV has become resistant to the antiviral drugs the patient is currently taking. It is a map of resistance markers.

Genital contact: Contact between the sexual organs of two people.

Granulocytopenia: abnormal reduction in granulocytes in blood

HAART: Highly active anti-retroviral therapy.

Hemophilia: A heredity blood disorder that prevents blood from properly clotting.

Hepatitis B: A viral infection that affects the liver and is transmitted only through blood-to-blood and sexual contact.

Herpes: Short for Herpes simplex viruses, which cause fluid-filled blisters around the mouth or genitals; a common infection in people with AIDS.

Heterosexual (straight, not gay): A person who has sexual contact with members of the opposite sex; being sexually or non-sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. Also, having sexual partners of the opposite sex; opposite of homosexual.

High Risk Behavior: A term used to describe certain activities that increase the risk of transmitting HIV. Often referred to as "unsafe activities"-including, anal and vaginal intercourse without a condom, sharing intravenous drug works and other intimate blood contact.

HIV: See Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

HIV Disease: A continuum of response to HIV infection characterized by four phases: (1) acute onset of infection, during which a mononucleosis-like illness is first experienced; (2) asymptomatic incubation period of usually 2 to 15 years duration; (3) chronic symptom(s), such as lymphadenopathy; and (4) AIDS. Not all HIV-infected individuals realize all phases as they occur.

Homosexual (gay, lesbian): A person who has sexual contact with members of the same sex; same-sex orientation; Being sexually or non-sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

HOPWA: Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS.

Hormone: A chemical substance produced by the body and carried throughout the body in the blood that stimulates or suppresses cell and tissue activity.

Household Contact: Ordinary social contact among members of a household. Such as, sharing eating utensils, linens or bathrooms.

HTLV-III: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus, type III; what HIV was first called by the American scientific community (also LAV, lymphadenopathy-associated virus).

HUD: The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (Oversees the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS grants).

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): The virus that causes AIDS.

Human Growth Hormone (HCG): A hormone normally produced in the pituitary gland in the brain that enhances tissue growth by stimulating protein formation.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): A virus that causes genital warts that is linked to cervical dysplasia, cervical and testicle cancer.

Hyperglycemia: increase of blood sugars

Hypocalcemia: abnormally low levels of calcium in blood

Hypoglycemia: abnormally low levels of glucose in blood

Hypokalemia: decrease in potassium levels in blood

IDU: Injecting drug use; injecting drug user.

Immunity: Protected from disease.

Immune System: A variety of cells and substances within the body that protects it from viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.

Immunogen: A substance, also called an antigen, capable of provoking an immune response.

Immunoglobulin (IG): (Ig) Antibody (see)

Immunoflourescent Assay (IFA): An HIV antibody test used by some laboratories to supplement or confirm positive EIA/ELISA results.

Immunosuppression: Reduced performance of the body's immune system.

Immunotherapy: Treatment aimed at reconstituting an impaired immune system.

Incidence: The frequency of new cases of a disease over a period of time in relationship to a particular population.

Incubation: The period from the point of infection to the onset of symptoms.

Indinavir: A protease inhibitor. Brand name Crixivan.

Indeterminate: Findings that are not clearly negative or positive; for instance, HIV antibody tests may be indeterminate.

Infection: Invasion of the body by a disease-causing agent.

Infectious: Capable or transmitting disease; contagious.

Integrase: A little-understood enzyme that plays a vital role in the HIV-infection process. Integrase inserts HIV's genes into a cell's normal DNA.

Integrase Inhibitors: A class of experimental anti-HIV drugs that prevents the HIV integrase (see) enzyme from inserting viral DNA into a host cell's normal DNA.

Integration: As related to HIV: The process by which the viral DNA migrates to the cell's nucleus, where it is spliced into the host's DNA with the help of viral intergrase. Once incorporated, HIV DNA is called the provirus and is duplicated together with the cell's genes every time the cell divides. Recent reports suggest that HIV's DNA also can intergrate into the DNA of non-dividing cells such as macrophages (see) and Brain and nerve cells.

Intravenous Drug Use (or, injecting drug use; IDU): Injecting (shooting) drugs by needle directly into a vein.

Invirase: A brand name of protease inhibitor. See Saquinavir.

Jundice: A Yellowing of skin and whites of eyes that is caused by elevated levels of bilirubin. The condition is associated with either liver or gallbladder disease or excessive destruction of red blood cells.

Kaposi's Sarcoma: A cancer that can involve the skin, mucous membranes, and lymph nodes; appears as grayish-purple spots.

Latency Period: The period of a disease between onset of infection and clinical symptoms. In the HIV disease, this period can be from a few months to over ten years.

Lesbian: A woman whose sexual partners are women.

Lesion: A pathological change in tissue (sore, chancre, ulcer).

Leukocytes: Any of the various white blood cells that together make up the immune system. Neutrophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes are all leukocytes.

Lipid: Any of a group of fats and fat-like compounds, including sterols, fatty acids, and many other substances.

Lipodystrophy: A disturbance in the way the body produces, uses, and distributes fat. Lipodystrophy is also referred to as "buffalo hump," "protease paunch," or "Crixivan potbelly." In HIV disease, lipodystrophy has come to refer to a group of symptoms that seem to be related to the use of protease inhibitor (see) drugs. How antiviral medications or HIV disease may cause or trigger lipodystrophy is not yet known. Lipodystrophy symptoms involve the loss of the thin layer of fat under the skin, making veins seem to protrude; wasting of the face and limbs; and the accumulation of fat on the abdomen (both under the skin - subcutaneous, and within the abdominal cavity - visceral) or between the shoulder blades. Women may also experience narrowing of the hips and enlargement of the breasts.

Live Vector Vaccine: As pertaining to HIV, a vaccine that uses an attenuated (i.e., weakened) virus or bacterium to carry pieces of HIV into the body to directly stimulate a cell-mediated immune response.

Liver function test: A test that measures the blood serum level of any of several enzymes (e.g., SGOT and SGPT; see) produced by the liver. An elevated liver function test is a sign of possible liver damage.

Long-term Non-Progressors: Individuals who have been living with HIV for at least 7 to 12 years (different authors use different time spans) and have stable CD4+ T cell counts of 600 or more cells per cubic millimeter of blood, no HIV-related diseases, and no previous antiretroviral therapy. Data suggest that this phenomenon is associated with the maintenance of the integrity of the lymphoid tissues and with fewer viruses trapping in the lymph nodes than is seen in other individuals living with HIV.

Lubricant: A substance used to reduce friction during sex.

Lymph nodes: Bean-sized organs, which filter lymph, a fluid that carries lymphocytes.

Lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV): A former name for HIV.

Lymphocytes: Certain types of white blood cells called T-cells and B-cells that are essential to the functioning of the immune system.

Lymphoid Organs or Lymphoid Tissue: Include tonsils, adenoids, lymph nodes (see), spleen, thymus, and other tissues. These organs act as the body's filtering system, trapping invaders (i.e., foreign particles, e.g., bacteria and viruses) and presenting them to squadrons of immune cells that congregate there. Within these lymphoid tissues, immune activity is concentrated in regions called germinal centers, where the thread-like tentacles of follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) form networks that trap invaders.

Lymphokines: 1. Products (chemical messengers) of the lymphatic cells that stimulate the production of disease-fighting agents and the activities of other lymphatic cells. Among the lymphokines are gamma interferon and interleukin-2. 2. Non-antibody mediators of immune responses, released by activated lymphocytes (see).

Lymphoma: Cancer of the lymph nodes.

Lymphopenia: A relative or absolute reduction in the number of lymphocytes (see) in the circulating blood.

MAC: See Mycobacterium Avium Complex. Also referred to as MAI

Macrophage: A type of white blood cell that surrounds and consumes infected cells, disease agents, and dead material.

Malaise: A generalized, nonspecific feeling of discomfort.

Mandatory testing: Required testing of a population or group of people traditionally used only for diseases that have a cure and effective treatments available.

Masturbation: Massaging one's own genitals, usually to the point of orgasm.

Meningitis: Inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

Menstruation: The monthly shedding of the uterus lining during the menstrual period.

Messenger RNA: Also referred to as mRNA. An RNA (ribonucleic acid; see) that carries the genetic code for a particular protein from the DNA in the cell's nucleus to a ribosome (see) in the cytoplasm (see) and acts as a template, or pattern, for the formation of that protein.

Metabolism: The sum of the processes by which a particular substance is handled (as by assimilation and incorporation, or by detoxification and excretion) in the living body.

Microbicide: An agent (e.g., a chemical or antibiotic) that destroys microbes. Some efforts are being made to identify an agent that might block HIV infection when used vaginally or in the rectum.

Mitochondria: Like a cell within our cells the mitochondria act as an energy powerhouse for cells. Mitochondria have their own DNA. The number of mitochondria per cell varies depends on that cells needs. One cell contains 100's of mitochondria.

Mitochondrial Toxicity: In HIV infection, mitochondrial dysfunction due to long-term HIV disease or long-term use of anti HIV medications. Some studies point to Nucleoside Analogues Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors as a possible cause - suggesting that they interfere with DNA synthesis within mitochondria. Early studies have suggested Mitochondrial Toxicity as one possible cause of Lipodystrophy (see). Could also result in organ failure.

Monocyte: A type of white blood cell.

Monogamy: Being faithful, sexually, to one person.

Motor function: The ability to move; in people with AIDS, motor function may be limited due to the effect of HIV on the central nervous system.

MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging - a noninvasive, non x-ray diagnostic tool that produces computer-generated images of the body's internal tissues and organs.

Mucosa: See Mucous Membrane.

Mucous membrane: A lining or membrane of all bloody passages that lead to the exterior; for example, the lining of the mouth and the lining of the vagina. The glands in the mucous membrane produce mucous.

Mutating virus: A virus that changes.

Mutual masturbation: Two individuals massaging the other's genitals, often to the point of orgasm.

Mutual monogamy: Being faithful, sexually, to only one person who being faithful back.

Myalgia: tenderness or pain in muscles

Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC): l. A common opportunistic infection caused by two very similar mycobacterial organisms, Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellular (MAI), found in soil and dust particles. 2. A bacterial infection that can be localized (limited to a specific organ or area of the body), or disseminated throughout the body. It is a life-threatening disease, although new therapies offer promise for both prevention and treatment. MAC disease is extremely rare in persons who are not infected with HIV

National Institutes of Health (NIH): A federal agency of the US Public Health Service that includes several institutes (such as: the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases or NIAID). The NIH provides funding for and engages in biomedical and health research. This agency also trains scientists and doctors and oversees the Ryan White CARE Act.

Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells): A type of lymphocyte (see). Like cytotoxic T cells, NK cells attack and kill tumor cells and protect against a wide variety of infectious microbes. They are "natural" killers because they do not need additional stimulation or need to recognize a specific antigen in order to attack and kill. Persons with immunodeficiencies such as those caused by HIV infection have a decrease in "natural" killer cell activity.

Needle stick (also needle stab, needle jab): A needle puncture of the skin, including one accidental in cause.

Nelfinavir: A protease inhibitor (see) for the treatment of HIV infection when antiretroviral therapy. Brand name Viracept.

Neuralgia: A sharp, shooting pain along a nerve pathway.

Neuropathy: Any disease of the nerves. Often, neuropathy associated with HIV infection is manifested by tingling or numbness in the feet or hands.

Neutralizing Antibody: An antibody that keeps a virus from infecting a cell, usually by blocking receptors (see) on the cell or the virus.

Neutropenia: decrease in neutrophils

Neutrophil: Also called polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) leukocyte. A white blood cell that plays a central role in defense of a host against infection. Neutrophils engulf and kill foreign microorganisms.

Nephrotoxicity: kidney toxicity

Nevirapine: A non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (see) used in combination with antiretroviral agents (see) for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and children 2 months of age or older. Recent tests suggest that Nevirapine is less expensive and possibly as effective as AZT in preventing vertical transmission (see). Brand name Viramune.

Night Sweats: Extreme sweating during sleep. Although they can occur with other conditions, night sweats are also a symptom of HIV disease.

NIH: See National Institutes of Health.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL): A lymphoma (see) made up of B cells and characterized by nodular or diffuse tumors that may appear in the stomach, liver, brain, and bone marrow of persons with HIV After Kaposi s Sarcoma (see), NHL is the most common opportunistic cancer in persons with AIDS.

NNRTI: Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. This is a class of antiretroviral drugs, the first of which was introduced in June of 1996. FDA has approved the NNRTIs nevirapine (see), delavirdine (see), and efavirenz (see) for use against HIV

Nonjudgmental perspective: A point of view that recognizes the right of all people to their own values, attitudes, and beliefs.

Nonoxynol-9: A chemical used in some contraceptive creams, foams, jellies and lubricated condoms that kills sperm; used as a birth control measure. No longer recommended because of limited effectiveness against and the possibility of allergic reaction (rash) that could heighten the possibility of HIV infection.

Norvir: A protease inhibitor. Brand name for Ritonavir.

Nucleic Acid: Organic substance, found in all living cells, in which the hereditary information is stored and from which it can be transferred. Nucleic acid molecules are long chains that generally occur in combination with proteins. The two chief types are DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), found mainly in cell nuclei, and RNA (ribonucleic acid), found mostly in cytoplasm.

Nucleoside Analog: An artificial copy of a nucleoside (see). When incorporated into a virus' DNA (see) or RNA (see) during viral replication, the nucleoside analog acts to prevent production of new virus by replacing natural nucleosides, thereby blocking the completion of a viral DNA chain during infection of a new cell by HIV. The HIV enzyme reverse transcriptase (see) is more likely to incorporate the nucleoside analogs into the DNA it is constructing than is the DNA polymerase (see) normally used for DNA creation in cell nuclei. There are currently seven (or six without combivir) antiretroviral nucleoside analogs approved for marketing in the United States: AZT, ddI, ddC, d4T, 3TC, combivir, and abacavir.

Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI): A nucleoside analog (see) antiretroviral drug whose chemical structure constitutes a modified version of a natural nucleoside (see). These compounds suppress replication of retroviruses (see) by interfering with the reverse transcriptase (see) enzyme.

Nucleotide: Nucleotides are the building blocks of nucleic acids (see), DNA (see), and RNA (see). Nucleotides are composed of phosphate groups, a five-sided sugar molecule (ribose sugars in RNA, deoxyribose sugars in DNA), and nitrogen containing bases. These fall into two classes: pyrimidines and purines. A nucleotide without its phosphate group is called a nucleoside.

Nucleotide Analogs: Nucleotide analogs are drugs that are structurally related to nucleotides (see); they are chemically altered to inhibit production or activity of disease-causing proteins. The chemical structures of these drugs may cause them to replace natural nucleotides in the viral DNA nucleic acid (see) sequence. The nucleotide analog cidofovir (also known as HPMC) is approved for CMV retinitis. Adefovir is under investigation for HIV and HBV

Nystatin: A drug used to treat candidiasis.

Opportunistic infection: One of a variety of infections, including pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, cytomegalovirus or toxoplasmosis, that occur in people who do not have fully functioning immune systems.

Oral sex (oral intercourse): Contact of the mouth or tongue with a partner's penis, vagina or anus during sexual activity; fellatio (mouth-to-penis), cunnilingus (mouth-to-vagina), analingus (mouth-to-anus).

Organ bank: A place where donated organs are stored before being transplanted.

Pancreas: A gland near the stomach that secretes digestive fluids into the intestine. It also produces insulin.

Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas (see) that can produce severe pain and debilitating illness. An occasional side effect of treatment with ddI (see), with a greater possibility with once a day dosing. It is also a possible effect with other HIV medication, but not as likely. Pancreatitis can result in severe abdominal pain and death. Its onset can be predicted by rises in blood levels of the pancreatic enzyme, amylase.

Pandemic: A disease prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.

Parasite: An organism that relies on another organism for survival.

Parenteral transmission (of HIV): The injection of HIV into the body, most commonly through HIV-contaminated needles.

Partner notification: The confidential process of informing the sexual and needle sharing partners of an HIV infected person that they may also be infected.

Passive Immunity: Resistance to infection resulting from previous exposure to an infectious agent of antigen. Some examples: Transfer of antigen specific antibodies from another person or animal either naturally - from mother to fetus - or by intentional inoculation.

Passive Immunotherapy: Process in which individuals with advanced disease (who have low levels of HIV antibody production) are infused with plasma rich in HIV antibodies or an immunoglobulin concentrate (HIVIG) from such plasma. The plasma is obtained from asymptomatic HIV positive individuals with high levels of HIV antibodies.

Pathogen: An organism or agent capable of causing disease.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Gynecological condition caused by an infection (usually sexually transmitted) that spreads from the vagina to the upper parts of a woman s reproductive tract in the pelvic cavity. PID takes different courses in different women, but can cause abscesses and constant pain almost anywhere in the genital tract. If left untreated, it can cause infertility or more frequent periods. Severe cases may even spread to the liver and kidneys causing dangerous internal bleeding and death.

Peripheral Neuritis: Inflammation of terminal nerves or the nerve endings, usually associated with pain, muscle wasting, and loss of reflexes.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Condition characterized by sensory loss, pain, muscle weakness, and wasting of muscle in the hands or legs and feet. It may start with burning or tingling sensations or numbness in the toes and fingers. In severe cases, paralysis may result. Peripheral neuropathy may arise from an HIV-related condition or be the side effect of certain drugs, some of the nucleoside analogs (see) in particular.

Penis: The male sexual organ.

Pentamidine: A drug used to treat pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Peptide: (Also polypeptide.) Biochemical formed by the linkage of up to about 50 amino acids (see) to form a chain. Longer chains are called proteins.

Perianal: Around the anus.

Perinatal: Events that occur at or around the time of birth.

Perinatal transmission (of HIV): Passing HIV to an infant before or during birth.

Phagocyte: A cell that is able to ingest and destroy foreign matter, including bacteria.

Phase I Trials: This involves the initial introduction of an investigational new drug into humans. The studies are designed to determine the metabolism and pharmacologic actions of the drug in humans, safety, side effects associated with increasing doses, and if possible, early evidence of effectiveness. Generally in the range of 20 to 80 people are used in Phase I Trials.

Phase II Trials: Include controlled clinical studies of effectiveness of the drug for a particular indication or indications in patients with the disease or condition under study, and determination of common, short-term side effects and risks associated with the drug. Phase II studies are typically well controlled, closely monitored, and usually involve no more than several hundred patients.

Phase III Trials: Expanded controlled and uncontrolled studies. They are performed after preliminary evidence of drug effectiveness has been obtained. They are intended to gather additional information about effectiveness and safety that is needed to evaluate the overall benefit-risk relationship of the drug and to provide adequate basis for physician labeling. These studies usually include anywhere from several hundred to several thousand subjects.

Phase IV Trials: Post-marketing studies, carried out after licensure of the drug. Generally, a Phase IV trial is a randomized, controlled trial that is designed to evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of a drug for a given indication. Phase IV trials are important in evaluating AIDS drugs because many drugs for HIV infection have been given accelerated approval with small amounts of clinical data about the drugs' effectiveness.

Phenotypic Assay: A procedure whereby a sample DNA (see) of a patient's HIV is tested against various antiretroviral (see) drugs to see if the virus is susceptible or resistant to these drug(s). See also Resistance.

Placebo: A "dummy pill", "sugar pill" or look-alike therapy containing no medicine. In clinical trials, a placebo is given to the control group of patients while the drug being tested is given to another group.

Placebo effect: Improvements in health experienced or perceived by people who are taking a substance without medicinal value. Someone thinks it will work, therefor is does seem to have an effect.

Placenta: The blood-filled organ that connects the fetus to the mother's body by the umbilical cord; the source of nutrition for the fetus.

Plasma: That 10 percent of the blood that contains nutrients, electrolytes (dissolved salts), gases, albumin, clotting factors, wastes, and hormones.

Plasma Cells: Large antibody-producing cells that develop from B cells. See Antibodies and B-Lymphocytes.

Platelets: Coagulation agent in the blood that causes clotting when damage occurs to a blood vessel. It is important to have adequate numbers of normally functioning platelets to maintain effective coagulation (clotting) of the blood. There are drugs that can potentially alter the platelet count, making it necessary to monitor the count.

Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: A form of pneumonia caused by a parasite that does not usually cause infection in people with fully functioning immune systems; the leading cause of death in people with AIDS.

Pneumonia: Any infection or inflammation of the lungs.

Polymerase chain reaction (in HIV): A test that can detect HIV by amplifying and looking for genetic information about the virus (PCR).

Positive test result: Findings that show the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood; the person tested is assumed to be infected with HIV and able to infect others.

Prevalence: Total number of cases of a disease in a specific population at a given point in time.

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): A rapidly debilitating opportunistic infection caused by the JC virus that causes damage to the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include loss of muscle control, Paralysis, blindness, problems with speech, and an altered mental state. HAART has been used to treat PML.

Prophylactic: Preventive; often used as a synonym for condom.

Prophylaxis: A treatment intended to prevent disease or infection.

Protease: an enzyme that breaks down proteins into their component peptides.

Protease Inhibitors: A class of antiviral drugs used to treat HIV infection, which work in the final stage of the HIV viral replication cycle. They are usually taken in combination with Nucleoside and Non-nucleoside Analogs. FDA has approved the following protease inhibitors as drugs to treat HIV disease: Saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase), Indinavir (Crixivan), Nelfinavir (Viracept), Ritonavir (Norvir), and Amprenavir (Agenerase).

Proteins: Highly complex organic compounds found in all living cells. Protein is the most abundant class of all biological molecules, comprising about 50 percent of cellular dry weight. Structurally, proteins are large molecules composed of one or more chains of varying amounts of the same 22 amino acids (see) that are linked by peptide bonds. Each protein is characterized by a unique and invariant amino acid sequence. The information for the synthesis of the specific amino acid sequence in a protein, from free amino acids, is carried by the cell's nucleic acid (see).

Prothrombin time: A test of blood clotting time

Protocol: The detailed plan for conducting a clinical trial (see). It states the trial's rationale, purpose, drug or vaccine dosages, length of study, routes of administration, who may participate (see inclusion/exclusion criteria), and other aspects of trial design.

Protozoa: Large group of one-celled (unicellular animals, including amoebas. Some protozoa cause parasitic diseases in persons with AIDS, notably toxoplasmosis (toxo) and cryptosporidiosis (crypto).

Purified Protein Derivative (PPD): Material used in the tuberculin skin test.

Quarantine: Period of isolation from the public following the onset of a contagious disease.

Receptor: A molecule on the surface of a cell that serves as a recognition or binding site for antigens (see), antibodies (see), or other cellular or immunological components.

Renal: Pertaining to kidneys.

Rescriptor: A non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase drug. Brand name of Delavirdine.

Resistance: Reduction in a pathogen's sensitivity to a particular drug. Resistance is thought to result usually from a genetic mutation (see). In HIV, such mutations can change the structure of viral enzymes and proteins so that an antiviral drug can no longer bind with them as well as it used to. Resistance detected by searching a pathogen's genetic makeup for mutations thought to confer lower susceptibility is called "genotypic resistance." Resistance that is found by successfully growing laboratory cultures of the pathogen in the presence of a drug is called "phenotype resistance."

Retrovirus: A class of viruses, which copy genetic material using RNA as a template for making DNA.

Reverse Transcriptase: This enzyme of HIV-and other retroviruses (see)-converts the single-stranded viral RNA (see) into DNA (see), the form in which the cell carries its genes.

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA): A complex protein associated with protein translation. RNA is the genetic material of HIV.

Risk elimination: Discontinuing any activity or behavior that causes risk of HIV infection.

Risk reduction: A process of adopting behaviors that reduce the likelihood that an individual will be exposed to and/or infected by HIV or other sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases. Risky behavior: An activity that puts a person at risk of contracting HIV.

Safer sex: Sexual practices that involve no exchange of blood, semen, or vaginal fluid. Saliva: The fluid produced in the mouth.

Ritonavir: A protease inhibitor approved for use in combination with nucleoside analogs for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 2 years of age and older. Its brand name is Norvir.

RNA: See Ribonucleic Acid.

RTI: Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor

RT-PCR: (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) See Polymerase chain reaction.

Salmonella: A family of bacteria, found in undercooked poultry or eggs, that are a common cause of food poisoning, and that can cause serious disseminated disease in HIV positive persons.

Salvage Therapy: A treatment effort for people who are not responding to, or cannot tolerate the preferred, recommended treatments for a particular condition. In the context of HIV infection, drug treatments that are used or studied in individuals who have failed one or more HIV drug regimens, including protease inhibitors (see). In this case, failed refers to the inability to achieve and sustain low viral load levels.

Saquinavir: A FDA approved protease inhibitor for combination use with nucleoside analogs (See) for the treatment of HIV infection. It comes in two forms: A hard-gel capsule - brand name, Invirase. A soft-gel capsule - brand name Fortovase. Fortovase is more bioavailable.

Semen: Whitish fluid ejaculated from the penis during orgasm that contains sperm, white blood cells, and fluid.

Seroconversion: The change from an absence of HIV antibodies in the blood to the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood.

Seronegative: Also known as "non-reactive". No evidence of antibodies for HIV in the blood Seropositive: Also known as "reactive". Evidence of HIV antibodies in the blood.

Sex (also sexual intercourse): Genital contact between individuals; penetration of the anus, vagina or mouth by the penis; oral stimulation of the penis, vagina or anus; intimate female-to-female contact.

Sexual orientation: The sexual attraction people feel for, or the erotic relationship they develop with others of their own sex, of the opposite sex or of both sexes.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD, or sexually transmitted infection, STI): A disease that is transmitted during sexual contact between people; for example, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia and HIV.

SGOT: (Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase.) Also known as AST (aspartate aminotransaminase), a liver enzyme that plays a role in protein metabolism, such as SGPT (see). An elevated serum level of SGOT is a sign of liver damage from disease or drugs.

SGPT: (Serum Glutamic Pyruvate Transaminase.) Also known as ALT (alanine aminotransaminase), a liver enzyme that plays a role in protein metabolism like SGOT (see). An elevated serum level of SGPT is a sign of liver damage from disease or drugs.

Shingles: A condition caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox (Herpes Varicella Zoster Virus), and characterized by inflammation of nerve endings; an opportunistic infection common to people with AIDS. Shooting galleries: Places where illegal drugs and needles are shared, particularly IV drugs.

Side Effects: The actions or effects of a drug (or vaccine) other than those desired.

Sinusitis: Inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses.

Sperm bank: A storage and collection facility for donated sperm.

Spleen: Large lymphatic organ in the upper left of the abdominal cavity that traps gets rid of foreign matter circulating in blood, gets rid of worn out red blood cells, and stores excess red blood cells.

Spermicide: A chemical usually found in the form of a foam, cream or jelly that kills sperm on contact; for example, Nonoxynol-9.

Stavudine: A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor approved for the treatment of adults and children with HIV infection. Also called d4T. Brand name is Zerit.

Stem Cells: Cells from which all blood cells derive.

Steroid: Member of a large family of structurally similar lipid (see) substances. Different classes of steroids have different functions. All the natural sex hormones are steroids. Anabolic steroids increase muscle mass. Anti-inflammatory steroids (or corticosteroids) can reduce swelling, pain, and other manifestations of inflammation.

Steven-Johnson syndrome: A dilation of blood capillaries that results in redness and lesions all over the skin. Eyes and mouth may become swollen leading to inability to eat. Sometimes fatal

Subcutaneous (SQ): Beneath the skin or introduced beneath the skin (e.g., subcutaneous injections, sub-q).

Suppressor T Cells: (T8, CD8.) Subset of T cells (see) that halts antibody (see) production and other immune responses.

Sustiva: See Efavirenz.

Syndrome: A group of related problems or symptoms.

Synergistic: When two or more treatments or drugs are used together that results in one or all of them working better. They enhance each other's effectiveness.

Synthesis: 1. In chemistry this is the formation of a compound from simpler compounds or elements. 2. The production of a substance (e.g., as in protein synthesis) by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds, or by the degradation (i.e., breaking down) of a complex compound.

Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease of the blood that can cause sores on the genitals, rashes on the hands and feet and, if untreated, potential heart and brain damage.

Systemic: Affecting the entire body.

3TC (Lamivudine): An antiretroviral medication used against HIV. It is usually used in combination with AZT. Brand name Epivir.

T-cell: A type of white blood cell essential to the body's immune system; helps regulate the immune system and control B-cell and macrophage functions.

T-4 cells: A group of T-cells (also known as CD4 cells) that carry the T4 marker and are instrumental in turning on antibody production, activating other T-cells and starting other immune responses. Also known as T4 helper cells.

T4/T8 Ratio: The numerical comparison of two types of white blood cells. T4 cells help the immune system fight off infections; T8 cells suppress the immune system once the infection has been controlled. Together, they keep the immune system in balance.

T-8 cells (Killer cells): White blood cells directed by T-4 cells that kill foreign invaders (viruses, bacteria, etc.) in the bloodstream.

Testosterone: Naturally occurring male hormone. In HIV infection many men have lower levels of testosterone. It can be given as a drug, by patch or injection, to increase levels, resulting in possible increase of lean body mass, increased sex drive and possible aggressive behavior.

Therapeutic HIV Vaccine: A vaccine designed to treat HIV rather, than prevent infection, by boosting immune response.

TOPWA: Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act. Florida General Revenue funded HIV prevention intervention project.

Thrombocytopenia: decrease in platelets

Thrush: See Candidiasis.

Thymus: A mass of glandular tissue (lymphoid organ) found in the upper chest under the breastbone in humans. The thymus is essential to the development of the body's system of immunity beginning in fetal life (i.e., before birth). The thymus processes white blood cells (lymphocytes; see), that kill foreign cells and stimulate other immune cells to produce antibodies (see). An important function of the thymus is to weed out lymphocytes that react to proteins produced by the body (self-antigens), thus preventing autoimmune disease. The gland grows throughout childhood until puberty and then gradually decreases in size.

T Lymphocytes: See T Cells.

Toxicity: The extent or degree of being poisonous or harmful to the body.

Toxoplasmosis: An infection caused by a protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which is carried by cats, birds, and other animals, and is found in soil contaminated by cat feces and in meat, particularly pork. The parasite can infect the lungs, retina of the eye, heart, pancreas, liver, colon, and testes. While many people have been exposed to this parasite it usually is not a problem for someone with a healthy immune system. It remains in the body, kept in check by the immune system. In a person with a dysfunctional immune system, such as an HIV patient, it can multiply and cause severe disease. When T gondii invades the brain it causes inflammation, called toxoplasmic encephalitis. While it can be treated with some success in an HIV patient, lifelong treatment is necessary to prevent reoccurrence.

Transaminase: A liver enzyme. A laboratory test that measures transaminase levels is used to assess the health of the liver.

Transcription: The process of constructing a messenger RNA (see) molecule, using a DNA molecule as a template (see), with the resulting transfer of genetic information to the messenger RNA. As related to HIV: The process by which the provirus produces new viruses. RNA (see) copies, called messenger RNA, must be made that can be read by the host cell's protein-making machinery. Cellular enzymes, including RNA polymerase II, facilitate transcription. The viral genes may partly control this process. For example, tat encodes a protein that accelerates the transcription process by binding to a section of the newly made viral RNA. See Integration; Ribonucleic Acid.

Transfusion (blood): The transfer of blood from one person to another.

Transplant: Transfer of an organ or tissue from one person to another.

Triglyceride: A compound made up of a fatty acid (such as oleic, palmitic, or stearic acid) and glycerol. Triglycerides make up most animal and vegetable fats and are the basic water-insoluble substances (lipids) that appear in the blood where they circulate. In the blood they are bound to proteins, forming high- and low-density lipoproteins. Elevations of triglyceride levels (particularly in association with elevated cholesterol) have been correlated with the development of atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of some heart diseases and stroke. In relation to HIV disease, there are many patients receiving combination therapies who have experienced significant elevation in their triglyceride levels.

Trizivir: Glaxo Wellcome combination HIV antiretroviral medication, combining Zidovudine (AZT/ZDV), Lamivudine (3TC) and Abacavir (ABC/1592) in one tablet.

T Suppressor Cells: T lymphocytes (see) responsible for turning the immune response off after an infection is cleared. They are a subset of the CD8+ lymphocytes (see).

Tuberculosis (TB): A contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs but may be disseminated to other parts of the body. This can be common in people with AIDS.

Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF): A cytokine (see), produced by macrophages (see), which helps activate T cells (see). It also may stimulate HIV activity. TNF levels are very high in persons with HIV, and the molecule is suspected to play a part in HIV related wasting, neuropathy, and dementia (see entries for these terms). TNF triggers a biochemical pathway that leads to the programmed form of cell suicide known as apoptosis (see). It also activates a key molecule that can block this very pathway, and so set up a delicate life-death balance within the cell.

Urine: Fluid waste excreted by the kidneys through the urethra.

Uveitis: painful inflammation of the uveal tract (structures of the eye)

Vaccine: A substance that contains antigenic components from an infectious organism. By stimulating an immune response-but not the disease-it protects against subsequent infection by that organism. There can be preventive vaccines (e.g., measles or mumps) as well as therapeutic (treatment) vaccines. See Therapeutic HIV Vaccine; Antigen.

Vaccinia: A cowpox virus, formerly used in human smallpox vaccines: Employed as a vector in HIV vaccine research to transport ` HIV genes into the body. See Vaccination; Vector.

Vaginal Candidiasis: Infection of the vagina caused by the yeast-like fungus Candida (see) (especially Candida albicans). Symptoms include, pain, itching, redness, and white patches in the vaginal wall. It can occur in all women, but is especially common in women with HIV infection. The usual treatment is a cream applied locally to the vagina. Women with HIV infection may experience frequent re-occurrence of symptoms and may require systemic medications in order to treat these symptoms successfully (See also Candidiasis.)

Vagina: The passageway in the female extending from the vulva to the cervix; female genitals. Vaginal liquids: Fluids that provide moisture and lubrication in the vagina. Vaginal sex (also vaginal intercourse): Penetration of the vagina by the penis or a sex toy.

Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV): A virus in the herpes family that causes chicken pox during childhood and may reactivate later in life to cause herpes zoster (shingles; see) in immunosuppressed individuals.

Vertical Transmission: Transmission (see) of a pathogen such as HIV from mother to fetus or baby during pregnancy or birth. See Perinatal Transmission.

VIDEX: Brand name for ddI. See Didanosine.

Viral Burden: The amount of HIV in the circulating blood.

Viral Load Test: In relation to HIV: Test that measures the quantity of HIV RNA (see) in the blood. Results are expressed as the number of copies per milliliter of blood plasma. Research indicates that viral load is a better predictor of the risk of HIV disease progression than the CD4 (see) count. The lower the viral load the longer the time to AIDS diagnosis and the longer the survival time. Viral load testing for HIV infection is being used to determine when to initiate and/or change therapy. See Viral Burden.

Viramune: Brand name for Nevirapine (see)

Virion: A virus particle existing freely outside a host cell. A mature virus.

Virology: The study of viruses and viral disease.

Virus: A disease-causing agent that usually has only DNA or RNA, but not both, and is smaller than bacteria (retroviruses such as HIV have both DNA and RNA); viruses need cells in which to replicate.

Visceral: Pertaining to major internal organs.

Visceral Fat: Fat surrounding major internal organs.

Wasting syndrome (in persons with HIV): Unusual weight loss of more than 10 percent of body weight not related to dieting or exercise.

Western Blot: A blood test used to detect antibodies to HIV; used to confirm or supplement positive EIA/ELISA results.

White blood cell: A type of blood cell whose primary function is to fight infection; white blood cells include T-cells, B-cells, macrophages, and monocytes.

Wild-Type Virus: The original type of HIV-unchanged by having developed any resistance to antiretroviral drugs (see). Also, 1. The prevalent type of a virus in the host population before genetic manipulation or mutation; 2. Virus that is isolated from a host as opposed to one grown in a laboratory culture (see Primary Isolates).

Window Period: Time from infection with HIV until detectable seroconversion (see).

Works: Needles, syringes, and other equipment used to "cook" or prepare and inject street drugs.

Yeast Infection: See Candidiasis.

Zalcitabine: A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in combination with antiretroviral agents (see) for the treatment of HIV infection in patients 13 years of age and older. Also called ddC, brand name - HIVID.

Zerit: Brand name for Stavudine (see).

Ziagen: Brand name for Abacavir (see). Also known as 1592.

Zidovudine: A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in combination with other antiretroviral agents (see) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 3 months to 12 years of age. Also FDA approved for use in HIV infected pregnant women beginning between 14 and 34 weeks gestation and during labor, and for use in newborn babies of HIV-infected mothers. Also called AZT, ZDV, and brand name - Retrovir, and available with Lamivudine (3TC) as brand name Combivir (see).

Zinc Fingers: Chains of amino acids (see) found in cellular protein which bind to DNA (see) or messenger RNA (see), and play important roles in a cell's life cycle. They are called zinc fingers because they capture a zinc ion, which contributes to the array's binding to RNA or DNA. There are two zinc fingers in HIV's nucleocapsid (see). Zinc fingers are involved in binding and packaging viral RNA into new virions (see) budding from an infected host cell. The nucleocapsid protein and the zinc fingers also play a role during the process of reverse transcription (see Reverse Transcriptase).

Zinc Finger Inhibitors: A class of experimental anti-HIV drugs which prevents the nucleocapsid (see) part of the Gag protein of HIV which contains the zinc finger amino acids (see) structures-from capturing and packaging new HIV genetic material into newly budding virions (see).

Condensed and edited By J. L. Lennox-Smith from:

Sources: 3rd Edition - Glossary of HIV/AIDS-Related Terms (For complete Text contact HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service 1-800-HIV-0440) and Florida Bureau of HIV/AIDS 1999 104 manual (104Appendix7-Glossary.doc (Phil R. 4/12/99).