Glossary of AIDS and HIV-related Terms I. (A..G)

Explanation of the most common AIDS and HIV-related Terms:

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
A condition caused by infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
HIV injures cells in the immune system. This impairs the body’s ability to
fight disease. AIDS is the last and most severe stage of the clinical spectrum of
HIV-related disease.
These are proteins that the body makes to attack foreign organisms and
toxins (often called antigens) that circulate in the blood.
Any substance – such as bacteria, virus particles or toxins – that stimulates
the organism to produce antibodies. For example, HIV is an antigen.
Antiretroviral therapy, ART
A treatment that uses antiretroviral medicines to suppress viral replication and
improve symptoms. Effective antiretroviral therapy requires the simultaneous
use of a mix of antiretroviral medicines,
otherwise known as highly active
antiretroviral therapy
Having no signs and symptoms of illness. A person who has
a positive reaction to one of several tests for HIV antibodies, but who shows no
clinical symptoms of the disease.
Body fluids
The only body fluids that may contain significant
concentrations of HIV are: blood and menstrual blood, semen, breast
milk, peritoneal fluid and amniotic fluid.
CD4 is a large glycoprotein that is found on the surface of T4 cells and is the receptor
for HIV. Cells with this molecule are known
as CD4-positive (or CD4+) cells. Decreasing CD4+ lymphocyte levels appearto be the best indicator of morbidity in
these patients.
Condom (female)
A pouch made of polyurethane (second generation female condom FC2 made of
nitrile) inserted into the vagina before intercourse and held in place by a loose
inner ring and fixed outer ring. The female condom prevents conception and
provides protection from STIs.
Condom (male)
A sheath unrolled over the erect penis. Male condoms made from nautral latex or
polyurethane prevent conception and transmission of HIV and other STIs.
ELISA test
(ELISA = enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)
A blood test that detects the presence of antibodies to a specific
antigen. If a blood test is positive, where possible, it should be confirmed by the
more accurate but more expensive Western Blot test.