Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

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AIDS is clinical term that relates to having very low CD4 counts, often with substantial weight loss, and the occurrence of severe opportunistic infections that can lead to death if HIV antiretroviral treatment is not taken daily. Having HIV does not mean you have AIDS, but having AIDS means that your have uncontrolled HIV which has not been treated with daily HIV antiretroviral treatment, or immune (CD4) counts are very... Read more

Acute

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Describes a stage or phase in a health condition that is new (i.e. the first or early phase of the condition) or has short-term symptoms which don’t last. Some acute conditions have the potential to develop into chronic (longer term) conditions, with new or different symptoms (than the acute phase) or persistent symptoms which don’t go away. Read more

Acute and Primary HIV Infection

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Acute HIV infection is the first 2 to 4 weeks from initial infection until the body produces HIV immune antibodies that can be detected by an HIV antibody test. From the acute stage (first four weeks) into the early stage (first few months) and primary HIV infection stage (first 3-6 months) is when HIV is causing the most inflammation and doing damage to the body – when it is highly replicating making the viral load... Read more

Adenopathy

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The swelling or inflammation of glands, especially the lymph nodes of the neck, armpits, and groin. Adenopathy is sometimes an early sign of HIV infection, but it can be due to other infections - so testing for HIV and other infections is important to understand the cause of adenopathy. Read more

Adherence

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The degree to which a person consistently takes their treatment(s), as prescribed by their doctor. HIV antiretroviral treatment is required to be taken daily, without regularly skipping or missing doses, at least 95% of the time. The old word for adherence is ‘compliance’ but that term is no longer used, as adherence to treatment is a recommended choice not an order to comply. Read more

Advocacy/Advocate

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The word advocate comes from a Latin word meaning “to be called to stand beside”. Advocacy can have a range of different meanings depending on context, but in its broadest sense means supporting the interests of an individual or group with the aim of promoting and protecting their rights and welfare. Read more

Anaemia

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A condition of reduced oxygen being transported in the blood to body tissues. It may be caused by a decrease in red blood cells or not enough iron in the diet. Anaemia may be a symptom of HIV-related conditions or a side effect of some HIV antiretroviral drugs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and headache. Read more

Anal Cancer – Also known as Anal Carcinoma

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Is a type of cancer which occurs in the anal canal. Symptoms of anal cancer include bloating and changes in bowel habits, a lump near the anus or anal canal, rectal bleeding, itching or discharge. Risk factors include having Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection, specifically types 16 and 18 (which are also linked to cervical cancer in women). These types are not associated with genital and anal warts (which are caused by... Read more

Anoscopy

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A examination using a small instrument called an “anoscope” to examine the anal canal. This device is used by a doctor to look for haemorrhoids, anal fissures (small tears or splits in the anal wall) and anal lesions. Anal lesions may or may not progress to cancer. If cancerous lesions are suspected, follow on diagnosis and treatment will be recommended by your doctor. It is recommended that HIV-positive men in... Read more

Antibodies

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Proteins found in the blood and other body fluids, also known as immunoglobulin; they are produced by B cells in response to the presence of antigens. Antibodies function to protect the body from disease by binding to antigens, marking them for destruction by immune cells (such as macrophages), or coating the antigen neutralising its harmful effects. Because antibodies react to specific antigens they can be used to... Read more