albumin: a protein made by the liver. It carries drugs, hormones and waste products through the blood and maintains fluid levels within the body. An abnormally low level of albumin is a sign of serious liver damage.
ALT (alanine transaminase, also called serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase; SGPT): a key liver enzyme produced in liver cells. ALT is routinely monitored in HIVpositive people on ARVs to detect liver toxicity from HIV drugs (or other medications). Elevated ALT signals liver injury, but does not indicate how serious liver damage is. antioxidant: a substance that reduces oxidative damage (damage due to oxygen) such as that caused by free radicals
ascites: an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, a sign of serious liver damage in people with hepatitis C.
AST (aspartate aminotransferase; serum glutamicoxaloacetic transaminase; SGOT): an enzyme that is made in many places throughout the body (heart, intestines, muscle) , which is monitored (as with ALT) routinely in HIV-positive people on ARVs to detect liver toxicity from HIV drugs (or other medications). Elevated AST that is specifically made in the liver signals liver injury, but does not indicate how serious liver damage is. autoantibody: Abnormal antibodies produced against the body's own tissues
Autoantibody: Abnormal antibodies produced against the body's own tissues.
bile duct: a tube that carries bile from the liver to the gallbladder and then to the small intestine biopsy: taking a small sample of body tissue for examination and testing in the laboratory
Biopsy: Taking a small sample of body tissue for examination and testing in the laboratory.
BMI (body mass index): a calculation from your height and weight that is used to determine if someone is over or under weight. There are many online calculators.
cirrhosis: severe scarring of the liver (see fibrosis) that makes it difficult for the liver to carry out its functions
coinfection: infection with more than one virus
cryoglobulinemia: increased blood levels of abnormal proteins called cryoglobulins that can inflame blood vessels and thicken blood
epoetin-alpha (EPO): a treatment for anaemia, administered by injection.
EVR (early virological response): a 99% (or 2-log ) drop in HCV viral load after 12 weeks of HCV treatment
fibrosis: mild to moderate scarring of the liver (see cirrhosis)
Fibrotest: a test which uses results from blood tests to predict liver damage and which may become an alternative option to liver biopsy in some patients
Fibroscan: non-invasive ultrasound scan that measures the 'elasticity' or stiffness of the liver
free radical: a chemical produced after a molecular reaction, often containing oxygen, that has one 'free' unpaired electron on its outer surface. This makes it able to react and damage other cells, and perhaps increase progression of cardiovascular disease, cancers and aging.
fulminant liver disease: sudden, rapid disease progression related to liver failure
grade/grading: The grade of hepatitis infection refers to the amount of inflammation in liver tissue, found by a biopsy. It is usually measured on the Ishak scale from 1-18) where 0 is none and 18 is the maximum.
HCV: hepatitis C virus
hepatic encephalopathy: brain disease that occurs when serious liver damage prevents toxic substances from being flitered out of the blood, and they enter the brain.
hepatotoxicity: the medical term for liver-related side effects
IDU: injecting drug user
jaundice: a common symptom of hepatitis where increased levels of bilirubin lead to a yellowing of the skin or eyes
neutropenia: very low amount of neutrophils (neutrophils are white blood cells that fight bacterial infections).
NNRTI: Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, a type of HIV drug -- also called non-nuke
PT (prothrombin time; pro-time): PT testing measures the amount of time it takes for blood to clot. When the liver is damaged, its ability to make clotting factors is impaired. If this time increases -- referred to as a prolonged PT interval -- it shows that the liver is not working so well.
RTI (reverse transcriptase inhibitor): a type of HIV drug -- also called nucleoside or nuke
RVR (rapid virological response): meaning that hepatitis C virus is undetectable after 4 weeks of treatment. Currently, RVR is used in research, not everyday clinical practice. An RVR is a good sign, but HCV treatment should not be stopped in people who do not have one.
stage/staging: The stage of hepatitis infection refers to the amount of scaring (fibrosis), from results from a biposy. It is usually measured on the Metavir scale of 0 to 4, where 0 represents no scarring and 4 cirrhosis, or on the Knodell scale of 0 to 6, where 0 is no scarring and 6 cirrhosis.
steatosis: fatty liver. Build up of fat in the liver worsens liver damage and makse hepatitis C harder to treat.
SVR (sustained virological response): having a negative HCV viral load test 6 months after stopping HCV treatment. The response, 6 months after treatment is stopped, determines whether treatment has been effective in terms of clearing HCV. SVR is the most important result from an HCV treatment trial.
thrombocytopenia: low platelet count (platelets help stop bleeding by clotting blood).
toxicity: the term for the degree to which a substance harms a person
This article was provided by HIV i-Base. It is a part of the publication Hepatitis C for People Living With HIV. Visit HIV i-Base's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.