Glossary of AIDS and HIV-related Terms II. (H..R)

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

High-risk behaviour
A term used to describe activities that increase a person’s risk of transmitting
or becoming infected with HIV. Examples of high-risk behaviours include:
unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse (without a condom) or using
contaminated injection needles or syringes.
(Highly active antiretroviral therapy)
The name given to treatment regimens to
aggressively suppress viral replication and progress of HIV disease.
The usual HAART regimen combines three or more different drugs such as two nucleoside
reverse transcriptase inhibitors and a protease inhibitor, two nucleoside reverse
transcriptase inhibitors and a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or
other combinations.
(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
The standard name was officially chosen in August 1986 to avoid confusion after
different countries gave the virus other names. In old literature one may see the
virus referred to as: HTLV-III, LAV or ARV.
HIV-1: The retrovirus that is the principal worldwide cause of AIDS.
HIV-2: A retrovirus closely related to HIV-1 that also causes AIDS in humans, found
principally in West Africa.
HIV incidence
The proportion of people
who have become infected with HIV during a specific period of time.
HIV medications
HIV medications fall under 4 classes:
• protease inhibitors,
• non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors,
• nucleoside/nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors and
• entry inhibitors (only one medication currently available under this class: Fuzeon).
Showing no evidence of infection with HIV. Synonymous with seronegative.
Showing indications of infection with HIV (e.g., presence of antibodies against
HIV) on a test of blood or tissue. Synonymous with seropositive.
HIV prevalence
Usually given as a percentage, HIV prevalence quantifies the proportion of
individuals in a population who have HIV at a specific point in time.
The terms prevalence and incidence should not be confused. Incidence
only applies to the number of new cases, while the term prevalence applies to
all cases, old and new.
Incubation period
The time interval between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS-defining illnesses.
Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS)
Many people with AIDS experience this cancer of the connective tissues in
blood vessels. Pink, broken or purple blotches on the skin may be a symptom of
KS. KS lesions sometimes occur inside the body in lymph nodes, the intestinal
tract and the lungs.
Opportunistic infections (OIs)
Infections caused by organisms that do not normally cause disease in people
whose immune systems are intact. Some of the most common opportunistic
infections indicating that someone has AIDS are: PCP (pneumocystic carinii
pneumonia), oesophageal candidiasis and toxoplasmosis.
A disease prevalent throughout an entire country, continent or the whole world.
(Post-exposure prophylaxis)
An emergency medical response used to protect individuals
exposed to HIV. PEP consists of HIV antiretroviral medication, laboratory tests
and counselling. Ideally, PEP should be initiated within 2 to 24 hours (and no
later than 48 to 72 hours) of possible exposure to HIV and must continue for
approximately four weeks.
A type of virus that is able to insert its genetic material into a host cell’s DNA.
HIV is a retrovirus.