Glossary

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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
The last stage of HIV, during which the immune system cannot fight off infections and diseases.
Acute
Sharp and severe, and/or lasting a short time.
Antibiotic
A medicine such as penicillin used to fight bacterial infections.
Antibody
A protein produced by the blood which helps protect the body from viruses and bacteria.
Antimicrobial resistance
Resistance to certain antibiotics.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART)
Combination of medicines used to treat a retrovirus such as HIV.
Antiviral medications
Medications used to treat viral infections, and which can be used to prevent recurrent outbreaks of herpes or speed the healing of herpes outbreaks.
Aqueous crystalline penicillin
A penicillin preparation used to treat neurosyphilis and ocular syphilis.
Aseptic meningitis
Inflammation of the meninges which can be caused by exposure to HSV-1 and HSV-2.
Benzathine penicillin
Special preparation of penicillin used to treat syphilis.
Bladder
A sac in the lower pelvis where the body stores urine.
Candidiasis
A common fungal infection of the vagina, also called "yeast" infection.
Cervical cancer
Cancer of the cervix which can be caused by sexual contact with a person infected with HPV.
Cervical dysplasia
Pre-cancerous condition in the cervix caused by HPV infection.
Cervix
Part of the female anatomy, the cervix is the narrow opening between the vagina and uterus.
Chancre
A sore caused by syphilis.
Chronic
Occurring frequently, or over a long period of time.
Cirrhosis
Scarring of the liver caused by long-term liver damage.
Condyloma lata
Large, raised, gray or white lesions that can develop on the genitals during secondary syphilis.
Cone biopsy
A procedure in which a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix.
Congenital syphilis
Syphilis passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.
Corpora cavernosa
Two spongy tubes located in the penis which become engorged with blood during sexual arousal, causing the penis to become erect.
Cryosurgery
A procedure in which tissue is frozen to destroy abnormal cells.
Cryptococcosis
An opportunistic infection which may indicate the presence of HIV.
Culture test
A test that detects evidence of certain types of infection.
Cytomegalovirus
A virus in the herpes family passed through bodily fluids.
Dementia
Loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.
Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI)
Life-threatening condition caused when untreated gonorrhea spreads to the blood.
DNA test
A test which analyzes DNA for evidence of diseases such as STIs.
Dual therapy
Using two antibiotic medications simultaneously.

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Early latent syphilis
Latent syphilis within the first 12 months of initial infection.
Ectopic pregnancy
A pregnancy in which an egg attaches somewhere outside the uterus, most often in the fallopian tube.
Ejaculation
The discharge of semen through the penis.
Electrocautery
A procedure which burns away abnormal tissue with an electric current.
Endometrium
The mucous membrane lining the uterus which thickens during the menstrual cycle, preparing for possible implantation of a fertilized egg.
Epididymis
Part of the male reproductive anatomy, a long coiled tube in each testicle where sperm is stored.
Erection
The state of the penis when it is filled with blood and becomes rigid during sexual arousal.
Estrogen
Female hormone produced by the ovaries. Together with progesterone, this hormone controls the development of a woman's body, including her breasts, body shape, and body hair.
Excision
The surgical removal of a foreign body or tissue.
Fallopian tubes
In the female reproductive anatomy, these are the tubes through which an egg travels between the ovaries and the uterus during a woman's monthly cycle.
Fibrosis
The thickening and scarring of connective tissue.
Genital herpes
STI characterized by sores on the genitals, buttocks, and/or thighs, caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Genital HPV types
The strains of HPV that cause an STI, divided into low-risk HPV types and high-risk HPV types.
Genital secretions
Liquid substances formed by and discharged from the genitals.
Genital warts
Small bumps or groups of bumps which can appear in the genital area of men and women within weeks or months after sexual contact with a person infected with HPV.
Genitals
External parts of the male and female reproductive systems.
Gonorrhea
Common sexually transmitted bacterial infection.
Groin
The region between the genitals and inner thigh.
Hepatitis B
A viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage.
Herpes
A common infection characterized by contagious sores, caused by the herpes simplex virus, or HSV.
Herpes lesions
An abnormal lump, bump, ulcer, or sore on the skin resulting from infection from the herpes virus.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
A virus which causes herpes, a common infection characterized by contagious sores.
High-risk genital HPV types
Strains of HPV that are linked to certain cancers in both men and women, most notably cervical cancer in women.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
A virus transmitted through body fluids that attacks cells in the body's immune system. Left untreated, it can lead to AIDS.
Hormones
Substances that affect sexual development and reproduction, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
HPV DNA test
Test for the HPV (high-risk or carcinogenic types) most likely to cause cervical cancer by analyzing DNA in cervical cells. The test can be done at the same time as the Pap test.
HSV-1
Type of HSV which causes either genital or oral herpes.
HSV-2
Type of HSV which causes only genital herpes.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
A virus that causes abnormal tissue growth (warts) and is often linked with some types of cancer.
Immune system
The group of organs and cells that defend the body against infection or disease.
Infertility
Inability to conceive children.
Infusion
The slow injection of a substance into a vein or tissue.
Intravenous
Administered into a vein.

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Jaundice
Yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Laser therapy
The use of lasers in surgery and other medical treatment.
Late latent syphilis
Latent syphilis beyond 12 months of the initial infection.
Latent (hidden) stage of syphilis
Stage of syphilis where the infection is present, but without any visible signs or symptoms of the disease.
Lesion
An abnormal lump, bump, ulcer, or sore on the skin.
Liver capsule
A layer of connective tissue surrounding the liver and ensheathing the hepatic artery, portal vein, and bile ducts within the liver.
Liver failure
The inability of the liver to perform its normal function as part of normal physiology.
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
Treatment in which abnormal tissue is excised by use of electricity.
Low-risk genital HPV types
Strains of HPV that tend to cause genital warts.
Lymph nodes
One of several bean-shaped organs in the lymphatic system found throughout the body, whose main function is disease protection.
Lymphoma
Cancer that develops in cells of the lymphatic system.
Meninges
The membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord.
Menstrual cycle
Monthly event in female reproduction during which an ovary releases an egg, which travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. If fertilization fails to occur, the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation.
Menstruation
Part of a woman's monthly cycle during which the thick bloody lining of the uterus is shed after an egg fails to be fertilized.
Metronidazole
An oral antibiotic used to treat trichomoniasis.
Mucous membrane
The tissues that line internal organs and body cavities not covered by skin.
Neonatal herpes
Herpes passed to a baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
Nervous system
The network of nerve cells and fibers that transmits nerve impulses between parts of the body.
Neurosyphilis
The invasion of the nervous system by syphilis.
Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs)
Sensitive and accurate diagnostic tests for chlamydia which involve specimens from urine samples and vaginal swabs.
Ocular syphilis
Syphilis that has spread to the eyes.
Opportunistic infections
Infections that occur more frequently and more severely in people with weakened immune systems.
Oral herpes
Cold sores on the mouth or face caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Ova
Eggs produced by the ovaries.
Ovaries
Part of the female reproductive system. A woman has two ovaries, which produce ova, or eggs, and the hormones known as estrogen and progesterone.
Ovulation
The part of a woman's monthly cycle during which an egg can be fertilized by a sperm in the uterus.

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Pap test
A sample of cells collected from the cervix tested for abnormalities such as cervical cancer.
Paralysis
Complete or partial loss of movement and/or sensation.
Parasite
An organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and takes its nourishment at the host's expense.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Serious condition occurring when an untreated sexually transmitted infection spreads to the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Penicillin
An antibiotic used to treat syphilis, among other diseases.
Penis
External male genital organ.
Perihepatitis (Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome)
Inflammation of the liver capsule resulting from PID caused by chlamydia.
Pneumonia
Lung infection caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal organisms.
Primary stage of syphilis
The first stage of syphilis, characterized by the appearance of one or more chancres, or sores.
Proctitis
Inflammation of the rectum.
Progesterone
Female hormone produced by the ovaries. Together with estrogen, this hormone controls the development of a woman's body, including her breasts, body shape, body hair, and menstrual cycle.
Prostate
A gland surrounding the neck of the bladder in males.
Prostatitis
Inflammation of the prostate.
Reactive arthritis
A type of arthritis that occurs in both men and women as a reaction to infection in the body.
Rectum
The final section of the large intestine, terminating at the anus.
Retrovirus
A type of virus, such as HIV, that harms the immune system.
Salmonella septicemia
Serious bloodstream infection caused by the Salmonella bacteria.
Screening
Checking for a disease when there may be no symptoms of the disease.
Scrotum
A pouch of skin containing the testicles.
Secondary stage of syphilis
Stage of syphilis characterized by skin rashes and lesions in the mucous membranes.
Seizure
A sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain.
Semen
Reproductive fluid ejected from the penis during intercourse, containing sperm.
Seminal vesicles
Part of the male reproductive anatomy, these are a pair of glands that open into the vas deferens and secrete many of the components of semen.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
Sperm
Male reproductive cell, found in semen.
Spermicide
A substance that kills sperm, used as a contraceptive.
Suppressive therapy
Medication used to prevent outbreaks of herpes and to reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others.
Syphilis
A bacterial sexually transmitted infection that can lead to serious complications if not treated.
T-cells
Short for thymus cells, these white blood cells play an important part in immunity from disease.
Tenosynovitis
Painful inflammation of tendons and tendon sheaths.
Tertiary syphilis
A rare but serious stage of syphilis that can affect multiple organ systems.
Testicles
Two oval-shaped organs located inside the scrotum which produce sperm and testosterone, the male hormone.
Testosterone
The male sex hormone important for sexual and reproductive development.
Tinidazole
Oral antibiotic used to treat trichomoniasis.
Toxoplasmosis
An infectious disease caused by a parasite that spreads from animals to humans.
Trichomoniasis (trich)
Caused by a parasite, trich is the most common curable STI.
Tuberculosis
A highly infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs.
Tunica albuginea
A tough, fibrous layer of connective tissue encasing the urethra and corpora cavernosa inside the penis.
Ulcers
Painful sores.
Urethra
Part of the male or female anatomy that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Urethritis
Inflammation of the urethra.
Uterus
Also called womb, the uterus is an inverted pear-shaped muscular organ of the female reproductive system in which a baby grows.
Vagina
The muscular canal that connects the cervix to the outside of the body, allowing for menstruation, intercourse, and childbirth.
Vas deferens
Part of the male reproductive anatomy, a long, muscular tube which transports sperm from the epididymis to the urethra in preparation for ejaculation.
Vesicles
Small blisters seen during an outbreak of herpes.
Viral culture test
A diagnostic test for viral infection.
Viral load
The amount virus in the blood or body fluids.
Visual acuity
Sharpness of vision.
Vulva
External part of the female genitals.