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Glossary

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Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS): A progressive, usually fatal condition that reduces the body's ability to fight certain infections. It is caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Asymptomatic: Without signs or symptoms of disease or illness (i.e. where the patient does not complain of any symptoms).

Bacterial Vaginitis: Inflammation of the vagina caused by a bacterial infection.

Bacterial Vaginosis: A common vaginal condition that includes a fishy-smelling discharge caused by overgrowth of bacteria normally found in the vagina.

Balanitis: Inflammation of the head (tip) of the penis and the mucous membrane beneath it.

Candidiasis: A common infection of the skin or mucous membranes caused by a yeast-like fungus (Candida albicans) that commonly causes vaginitis (vaginal burning and or itching accompanied by clumpy white discharge).

Cervicitis: Inflammation of the cervix, usually caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Chancroid: A sexually transmitted disease caused by the rod-shaped bacteria, Hemophilus ducreyi, often causing painful sores on the penis, vagina, or anus, and swollen lymph nodes.

Chlamydia: A sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis, often causing irregular bleeding and pain during intercourse in women, burning during urination in men, and discharge in both men and women. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.

Clinical Diagnosis: Using clinical experience to identify an STD.

Ectopic Pregnancy: Pregnancy outside the uterus; a life-threatening condition that can cause massive internal bleeding.

Etiologic: Using laboratory tests or microscopy to identity a causative agent.

Genital Ulcer Disease/Syndrome: The name for the syndrome where ulcers or sores are found in the genital region, usually caused by herpes, syphilis and/or chancroid. The presence of genital ulcers may increase the risk of transmitting HIV.

Gonorrhea : STD caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoea; common cause of urethral and vaginal discharge, and of discharging eyes in newborns.

Herpes: STD caused by Herpes Simplex virus (HSV), a common cause of genital blisters and ulcers.

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

Incidence: The frequency of new infections (i.e., number of infections over a given time period), expressed as a percentage of the population at risk.

Index Patient: A term used to distinguish between the original patient treated and any partners who are treated.

Lesion: A very general term denoting any abnormality on the surface of the body, whether on the skin or on a mucous membrane. Includes sores, wounds, injuries, pimples, and tumors, on the skin or elsewhere.

Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU): Urethritis, manifested by urethral discharge, painful urination, or itching at the end of the urethra, is the response of the urethra to inflammation NOT due to gonococcal infection.

Partner Management: Contacting, treating, and educating sexual partners of a patient treated for STD.

Patient Referral: Method of contacting sexual partners which relies on the patient informing them.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) : A general term covering the infections of the female genital tract (involving the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries), usually caused by gonorrhea, chlamydia and/or anaerobic bacteria.

Prevalence: The proportion of a defined population with the infection at a given point or period in time.

Provider Referral: Method of contacting sexual partners which relies on the health care provider informing them.

Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI): RTI is a general term including sexually transmitted infections, infections caused by an overgrowth of organisms normally present in the genital tract, and iatrogenic infections acquired during improperly performed medical procedures.

Risk Assessment: A systematic client interview designed to elicit medical, social, and behavioral history to assist in establishing potential for risk of RTIs.

Seroconversion: Development of detectable antibodies to HIV in the blood serum as a result of infection. It may take several months or more after HIV transmission for antibodies to the virus to develop. After antibodies to HIV appear in the blood, a person will test positive in the standard ELISA test for HIV.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD): Any infection that is acquired through sexual contact in a substantial number of cases.

STD Management: The care of a client with an STD; this includes activities such as history-taking, physical examination, laboratory tests, diagnosis, treatment and health education about treatment and prevention, follow-up assessment, and referral, when indicated.

Signs: A clinical problem that the patient or provider can see.

Symptoms: A clinical problem that the patient complains of.

Syndrome: A set of signs and symptoms that tend to occur together and are clinically indicative of a particular disease state, such as AIDS.

Syphilis : STD caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum; one of the causes of genital ulcers.

Trichomoniasis: STD caused by the bacterium Trichomonas vaginalis ; one of the causes of vaginal discharge.

Ulcer: Open sore.

Urethral Discharge: The symptom or syndrome where men present with a discharge from their penis, usually caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra, usually caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Vaginal Discharge: The symptom or syndrome where women present with an abnormal discharge from their vagina. Can suggest a vaginal infection (candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis) or a cervical infection (gonorrhea or chlamydia).

Vaginitis: Inflammation of the vagina, caused by trichomoniasis or candidiasis.

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Overview and Lessons Learned Program Examples Bibliography Links
Research Topics RTI Forum Glossary