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Definitions

September 2002

Abscesses: areas of infection, usually pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.

Acute Retroviral Syndrome: sickness caused by high levels of virus (HIV is a retrovirus) resulting in fevers and other flu-like symptoms.

Autoimmune: a reaction of the immune system (using T cells and antibodies) against its own body.

Boils: a hard, swollen, inflamed area of skin caused by bacterial infection in a skin gland.

CMV disease: an infection caused by a virus in the herpes family that can infect nervous tissue, in particular the retina of the eye (which can result in blindness).

Colposcopic exam: an examination of the vagina using a specialized device called a colposcope.

Folliculitis: inflammation of hair follicles.

HIV-associated dementia: a progressive brain problem that causes confusion, loss of memory, problems thinking, and trouble keeping balanced.

Impetigo: a bacterial skin disease causing pus and yellow crust-like buildup.

Intranasally: taken into the body through the nose.

Intravenous: taken into the body through a vein.

Lactic acidosis: excess accumulation of lactic acid in the body. Lactic acid is a substance in blood and muscle tissue produced by the body when it is processing sugar for energy (usually when exercising or in the absence of normal levels of oxygen).

Lesion: an abnormal change to an area of the body, usually a well-defined mark.

Lethargy: abnormal drowsiness or sluggishness.

Opportunistic infection: a disease caused by an organism that is usually harmless, but becomes activated when a person's immune system is impaired or damaged.

Pap smear: a test for the early detection of cancer in females.

Regimen: a combination or schedule of medications.

Sepsis: a toxic condition caused by the spread of bacteria from one place in the body to all over the body (such as through the blood).

Spleen: a small organ in the body that helps destroy old red blood cells and filters the blood.

Thrombocytopenia: an abnormal loss of platelets in the blood that can lead to hemorrhage if severe.

Toxicities: poisonous or damaging effects on the body.

Vitreous floaters: debris (like dead cells) in the liquid of the eye that may be seen as a spot in the visual field.


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