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FREQUENT TERMINOLOGY 2010 Acute HIV Infection -Also known as Primary HIV Infection this occurs when the patient is newly infected and usually means that they have not yet developed antibodies to HIV and so their ELISA test is negative. A diagnosis is made with an HIV PCR test is done. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) - A group of signs, symptoms, and diseases indicating severe impairment of the immune systems caused by infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is transmitted through intimate sexual contact, in particular, anal and vaginal intercourse; direct exposure to or infection with infected blood or blood products; and from an infected woman to her fetus or infant. The data on oral sexual transmission are unclear. HIV infects cells with the CD4 protein on the surface. Over a period of years, the number of these cells slowly decreases which impairs the immune system. Once the immune system is impaired, persons who are diagnosed as having HIV infection may easily develop one or more specific opportunistic infections or rare cancers which become life-threatening, usually when the CD4 lymphocyte count is less than 200 cells/ul. Once they develop one of these infections they are said to have AIDS. Of persons officially diagnosed as having AIDS for three or more years, over 80 percent have died. Specific diseases must be present to be diagnosed officially as AIDS and to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control. These diseases are defined separately in the following section. In general, the diseases include unusual forms of bacterial, fungal and viral infections as well as rare cancers. AIDS Dementia - A degenerative disorder of the brain and central nervous system caused by infection with HIV that leads to progressive deterioration of mental and neurological functions. AIDS dementia is reported to occur in approximately 70 percent of AIDS patients with low CD4 counts. Symptoms include: memory loss, mood shifts, depression, difficulty in concentrating, and motor impairment, including difficulty walking and weakness in arms and legs. Antibody - Special protein developed by the body's immune system in response to exposure to specific foreign agents. A given antibody exactly matches a specific agent that causes an infection, much like a key matches a lock; the antibody can help to destroy the infectious agent. The HIV test measures antibodies to HIV proteins. Antigen - A substance that stimulates the development of antibodies. Antiretroviral Drug - A medication which inhibits retroviruses. Asymptomatic - Without subjective or objective signs of illness. People who are infected with the AIDS virus (HIV), as evidenced by the presence of HIV antibodies, may show no symptoms of disease.
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This note was uploaded on 01/09/2011 for the course PUBH 420 taught by Professor Strauss during the Spring '09 term at UNC.

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