AIDS: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is a disease that causes a weak immune system. AIDS increases the risk of getting certain infections and cancers.
CD4 count: A blood test that measures the T-lymphocyte, or CD4+, count. These cells are part of your immune system. As your CD4 count goes down, your risk of developing infections goes up.
Chlamydia: A sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. If not treated with the appropriate antibiotics, chlamydia can lead to infertility (not being able to have a baby). It can be passed from mother to baby during birth.
Genital herpes: A sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus. The sores associated with herpes are highly contagious. The virus can also be spread when no sores can be seen.
Gonorrhea: A sexually transmitted disease that affects the genital area and urinary tract. You can have gonorrhea without any symptoms.
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C: Viruses that affect the liver. They spread through blood and other body fluids through unsafe sex or sharing needles and drug works. An infected mother can pass these viruses to her baby during birth.
HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Having HIV doesn’t mean a person has AIDS.
Immune system: The body’s defense against infection and disease.
Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease. If left untreated, syphilis can cause heart and brain damage, paralysis, blindness, and possibly death.
Viral load: Refers to the amount of virus in the blood.
Works: Drug equipment such as needles, syringes, spoons, filters, cottons, water, swabs, and tourniquets.
Serodiscordant couples: A couple in which one partner has HIV and the other does not.
STDs: Sexually transmitted diseases that are spread by having sex. Examples are syphilis and gonorrhea.
For more HIV/AIDS terminology visit the NIH AIDSinfo glossary of HIV/AIDS-related terms
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