for Health Care Providers
Glossary of HIV/AIDS Terms
Usually refers to suppression of the HIV viral load to below the level that laboratory tests can measure, (eg <50 copies/mL) through the use of antiretroviral therapy.
A simple set of effective practices designed to protect health workers and patients from infection with a range of pathogens, including blood-borne viruses. These practices are used when caring for all patients regardless of diagnosis.
Usually, the numbers of individuals who agree to a procedure such as the number of pregnant women who agree to take an HIV test or agree to participate in prenatal care.
Inoculation of a substance (ie, vaccine) into the body for the purpose of producing active immunity against a disease. Initially associated with smallpox vaccination but now often used interchangeably with immunization.
A substance that contains antigenic components from an infectious microorganism. By stimulating an immune response--but not the disease--it protects against subsequent infection by that organism. There can be preventive vaccines (eg, measles or mumps) as well as therapeutic (treatment) vaccines.
Infection of the vagina caused by the yeastlike fungus Candida (especially Candida albicans). Symptoms include, pain, itching, redness, and white patches in the vaginal wall. It can occur in all women, but it 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 reoccurrence of symptoms and may require systemic medications in order to treat these symptoms successfully.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV)
A virus in the herpes family that causes chickenpox during childhood and may reactivate later in life to cause shingles in immunosuppressed individuals.
The puncture of a vein (usually in the arm) with a hollow-bore needle for the purpose of obtaining a blood specimen.
Transmission of a pathogen such as HIV from mother to fetus or baby during pregnancy or birth.
The amount of HIV in the circulating blood. Sicker patients generally have more virus than those with less advanced disease. A viral load test is used to monitor the HIV viral burden. Suppression of the HIV viral load is the first goal of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and monitoring a person's viral load is key to assessing the success of ART.
Viral load test
In relation to HIV, a test that measures the quantity of HIV RNA in the blood. Results are expressed as the number of copies per milliliter of blood plasma. Viral load testing for HIV infection is used as a test for the presrence of HIV and for monitoring the effectiveness of therapy.
See Viral load.
The presence of virus in the bloodstream.
Suppression of viral replication (eg, HIV) by antiviral therapy.
Organism composed mainly of nucleic acid within a protein coat. When viruses enter a living plant, animal, or bacterial cell, they make use of the host cell's chemical energy, protein, and nucleic acid-synthesizing ability to multiply. Some viruses do not kill cells but transform them into a cancerous state. Some cause illness and then seem to disappear, while remaining dormant and later causing another, sometimes much more severe, form of disease. In humans, viruses cause measles, mumps, yellow fever, poliomyelitis, influenza, and the common cold, among others. Some viral infections can be treated with drugs.
See Viral load.