HIV/AIDS Glossary

CD-4 (or T-4): A blood test which measures the strength of the immune system

viral load: A blood test which measures the level of activity of the human immunodeficiency virus in the blood

“the cocktail”: the nickname for any number of combinations of highly powerful drugs which have been developed, since the mid-1990s, to treat HIV/AIDS

lipodystrophy: re-distribution of body fat seen in people on HAART, most commonly in the belly and back of the neck

lipoatrophy: loss of fat, sometimes to a debilitating extent, in the face, limbs and butt

HAART: Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy aka “the cocktail”

MSM: Men who have sex with men; a group of men epidemiologists and AIDS service organizations have identified who, while not identifying as gay, do have sex with men and sometimes fail to receive adequate HIV/AIDS prevention information and support

PEP “Post-Exposure Prophylaxis”: a four week daily dose of anti-HIV medications (in pill form) that can potentially stop HIV infection after exposure. PEP must be started within 72 hours of exposure. The sooner you start taking it the better.

PrEP: the use of an HIV medication by someone who is HIV-negative to prevent HIV infection. PrEP stands for “Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis”, meaning it is a tool to stop infection (“prophylaxis”) and is taken before you are exposed to HIV.



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