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HIV/AIDS

Glossary

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): The most severe manifestation of infection with HIV. An AIDS diagnosis is based on the presence of clinical symptoms, a patient’s HIV viral load, and a CD4+ T cell count at or below 200 cells per microliter in the presence of HIV infection. Persons living with AIDS often have infections of the lungs, brain, eyes, and other organs, and they frequently suffer debilitating weight loss, diarrhea, and a type of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Addiction: A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite adverse consequences. It is associated with longlasting changes in the brain.

Antiretroviral Drugs: Medications used to kill or inhibit the multiplication of retroviruses such as HIV.

Behavioral Treatments: A set of treatments that focus on modifying thinking, motivation, coping mechanisms, and choices made by individuals.

CD4+ T Cells: A type of cell involved in protecting against viral, fungal, and protozoal infections. These cells normally stimulate the immune response, signaling other cells in the immune system to perform their special functions. Also known as helper T cells, they are destroyed or disabled during HIV infection.

Cultural Relevancy: The ability of an intended audience to view an intervention as applicable to their life circumstances.

Generational Forgetting: Term to describe when knowledge of adverse consequences experienced by a particular generation or population is lost by a younger cohort. In this report, it refers to the diminished view of the dangers of HIV/AIDS among those ages 25 and younger.

Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART): A combination of three or more antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS.

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): A virus that causes liver inflammation and disease. Hepatitis is a general term for liver damage and hepatitis C is the most common type of hepatitis found among those with HIV.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): The virus that causes AIDS.

Injection Drug Use (IDU): Act of administering drugs directly into a vein using a hypodermic needle and syringe. Injection drug users (IDUs) are individuals that abuse drugs in this way.

Opioid: A compound or drug that binds to receptors in the brain involved in the control of pain and other functions (e.g., morphine, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone).

Pharmacological Treatment: Treatment using medications.

Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain (STTR): A research-based model of care that aims to expand HIV testing and reduce viral load and HIV transmission through initiating HAART therapy in HIV+ individuals. This approach reaches out to high-risk groups who have not been recently tested (Seek), engages them in HIV testing (Test), initiates and monitors HAART for those testing positive (Treat), and retains patients in care (Retain).

Viral Load: The quantity of HIV RNA (ribonucleic acid) in the blood. Research indicates that viral load is a better predictor of the risk of HIV disease progression than the CD4+ cell count. The lower the viral load, the longer the time to AIDS diagnosis and the longer the survival time. Viral load testing for HIV infection is used to determine when to initiate or change therapy.

This page was last updated July 2012

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