acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) The later stage of an HIV infection in which the immune system has been compromised and the infected person is susceptible to opportunistic infections.
antiretroviral drugs Drugs used to treat HIV without curing it that try to prevent the virus from spreading to cells that haven’t been infected.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) A US government agency that tracks the evolution, cause, and means of transmission of diseases.
direct action Demonstrations such as strikes, blockades, boycotts, or picketing that attempt to achieve a desired societal or organizational change.
drug resistance When a virus or bacteria has mutated to the point that it is no longer affected by a medicine that was used to treat it.
epidemic An infection that spreads quickly to many people, animals, or plants.
factor VIII A protein that assists in the clotting of blood that can be used to treat hemophilia. Factor VIII that was donated from people with AIDS prior to screening practices passed the infection to the recipients.
functional cure A cure that suppresses a disease to the point where it is undetectable in the blood, does not progress, and the risk of transmitting it to others is greatly reduced.
graft-versus-host disease A disease that can occur following a bone marrow or other form of tissue transplant in which the transplant’s white blood cells reject the healthy cells in the recipient’s body.
harm reduction Actions that allow for harmful behaviors but try to cushion the harm, like suggesting not sharing needles during drug use to prevent disease transmission.
hemophilia A genetic condition that limits the body’s ability to clot blood following an injury that can easily lead to a person bleeding to death.
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) A virus that infiltrates the immune system’s helper T cells in order to replicate. The act of replication compromises a person’s immune system and modifies DNA.
immune system The body system that fights off infection to maintain health.
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) An opportunistic infection that is a skin cancer and a common complication of an HIV infection.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) A biomedical research facility that is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
opportunistic infection An infection that occurs when a body’s weakened immune system cannot suppress it anymore.
pandemic A disease that occurs throughout an entire country or the whole world.
pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) An opportunistic pneumonia infection that affects people with compromised immune systems.
poppers A slang term for amyl nitrates, a recreational drug that was associated with the gay club scene.
postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) A treatment regimen of drugs meant to keep HIV cells from replicating after a person has been exposed to the virus.
preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) A treatment regimen of drugs meant to prevent infection of HIV in people who are at substantial risk of exposure to the virus.
sterilizing cure A cure that completely kills a disease.
zidovudine (AZT) The first antiretroviral drug that effectively treated HIV.