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Adherence: how well someone takes medication as directed, with respect to number and timing of doses.

Anemia: low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in poor oxygen transport and usually feelings of tiredness or fatigue.

Anesthetic: a substance that dulls the senses or causes unconsciousness, usually to reduce pain during surgery or other procedures.

Antiretroviral: having effects against HIV, which is a type of "retrovirus."

Cognitive: referring to mental activities such as thinking, remembering, imagining, and learning.

Control group: a special situation in research where no drug is given or no test is done. For example, a control group that gets a sugar pill (or "placebo," see below) might be compared to an experimental group that gets a real medication to see what are the effects of the medication.

Diabetes: a disorder involving insulin (a substance in the body that helps regulate blood sugar) that results in too much sugar in the blood and urine. Symptoms include hunger, thirst, weight loss, and frequent urination.

Drug-resistance mutation (drug resistance): a genetic change (mutation) that allows HIV to reproduce itself in the presence of an HIV medication.

Dyslipidemia: abnormal levels of lipid (fat) in the blood.

Enzyme: a complex protein that carries out a specific job in the body.

Fragility: a state of being easily broken.

Gastrointestinal: referring to the digestive system (stomach, intestines, gut).

Genotype: a test that measures specific genetic changes (mutations) in HIV associated with drug resistance (see above).

Hormone: a substance secreted by one part of the body that stimulates cells in another part of the body (for example, testosterone).

Insulin resistance: decreased sensitivity to insulin that is associated with diabetes (see above).

Lipoatrophy: a loss of fat, usually in the face, arms, or legs (in HIV+ people).

Lipodystrophy: changes in body fat such as loss of fat in the arms and legs and accumulation of fat in the gut or at the back of the neck.

Membrane: the outer coating or shell of a cell, like a water balloon or a soap bubble where the inside has all the main parts of the cell.

Metabolism: chemical reactions in the body that are part of life; for example, turning food into energy or breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

MRI magnetic resonance imaging, a non-invasive technique that creates a computer-generated image of the body.

Mutation: a genetic change, such as when HIV becomes resistant to a medication.

Neuropathy: damage to nerves (usually peripheral nerves, such as those in the arms and legs) resulting in muscle weakness, pain, and numbness.

Opportunistic infection: a disease or infection caused by an organism that is usually harmless, but becomes activated when a person's immune system is impaired or damaged.

Placebo: sometimes just the act of taking a pill can make someone feel better; so, to watch for this, a placebo (a pill or substance with no effect, such as a sugar pill) is often used to compare with a real medication to see what the medication's true effects might be. This would typically be used in a control group (see above).

Phenotype: a test that measures drug resistance (see above) of HIV by seeing what medications still work against a person's virus in a test tube.

Regimen: a combination or schedule of medications.

Useful Resources

AEGiS online support forums for people dealing with HIV/AIDS.

HIV news, publications, and more from AIDSmap.

Information on legal issues and HIV from Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC).

AIDS Survival Project has a newsletter, Survival News, and more.

HIV Insite comes from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and offers a wide variety of news and information on HIV/AIDS.

Test Positive Aware Network publishes the newsletter, Positively Aware, which features an updated guide to HIV meds each year.

AIDSinfo new offers Live Help via the Internet, Monday through Friday, 12:00 to 4:00 pm Eastern Time. "Live Help") or

Search for clinical trials around the US on HIV or anything else.

DON'T HAVE INTERNET ACCESS? If you are in the Houston area, remember that The Center for AIDS has 2 computer workstations available to search for information on HIV/AIDS. The walk-in information center (1407 Hawthorne) is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Also, consider visiting a local branch of your public library.
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Publication:HIV Treatment: ALERTS!
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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