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In the context of this manual, not having sexual intercourse, whether oral, anal or vaginal.


The insertion of the tips of needles into the skin at specific points of the body for the purpose of treating various diseases. Originally Chinese, this treatment is practised in many parts of the world.


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. A combination of diseases caused by a virus which affects the immune system. The immune system becomes unable to fight off infections.

Anal intercourse (anal sex)

Inserting the penis into the anus of the sexual partner.


Drugs given to fight certain types of infections.


A substance in the blood formed in response to invading disease agents such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. Antibodies usually defend the body against invading disease agents. This is not the case for AIDS.


The back passage through which faeces are passed.


Being assertive means you insist on a right or an opinion.


Micro-organism that lives in soil, air and water, as well as on people, animals and plants. Some bacteria are harmless, but others cause diseases.


A person who is sexually attracted to both males and females.


The neck of a womanís womb (uterus).


In men: Removal of the foreskin of the penis.

In women: Removal of the clitoris in the vagina, or removal of the clitoris and the labia, after which the vulva area is sewn together, leaving a small opening for urination and menstruation.


Area of tissue in the vagina that is able to become erect when a woman is sexually excited.


Method of contraception as well as protection against most sexually transmitted diseases (STD) for both sexes. The male condom is a rubber sheath, which fits over the erect penis and is sometimes coated with spermicide cream. The recently developed female condom fits over the cervix and also protects the vagina and vulva. (See Appendix IV.)


Capable of spreading a disease by contact.


Advice and support given to people. It includes confidential dialogue between a client and a trained care provider aimed at enabling the client to cope with stress and to make personal decisions, in this context, related to HIV and AIDS.

Cumulative total

A number formed by successive additions. In the context of this manual, the cumulative number of HIV cases is the number of people who have been infected and counted since the start of the epidemic.


Rush of semen from the penis resulting from sexual stimulation.


The mucous membrane lining the uterus, which thickens during the menstrual cycle in preparation for possible implantation of a fertilized egg. It is shed during the menstrual period if the egg is not fertilized.


The study of the distribution, incidence and possible control of a disease among a certain population.


The process used to confirm whether a project or programme has achieved its objectives.

Fallopian tubes

A pair of tubes along which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus.


In the context of the manual: the ability to become pregnant.


Homosexual man whose sexual desires are directed wholly or largely toward males.


Relating to the reproductive organs.


Congenital disease that causes severe bleeding from even a slight injury, through failure of blood to clot quickly.

Health promotion

The process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. It includes health education, health policy formation, community development, diagnosing the causes of ill health both economically and socially, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.


An infection caused by a virus and transmitted through sexual intercourse or through blood.

Herpes infection

An infection caused by a virus. Can be sexually transmitted. See pages 74-76.


A person who is sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex.


Human immunodeficiency virus. The virus that causes AIDS.


Infected with HIV.


Not infected with HIV.

HIV status

The state of being or not being infected with HIV.


Person whose sexual desires are directed wholly or largely toward people of the same sex. Homosexuals include males (gays) and females (lesbians).

Immune system

Protects the body from infection by recognizing diseases, killing them and then remembering what they Ďlook likeí so that they will be able to fight them off again.

Incubation period

The period between infection with a virus or other pathogen and the appearance of the first symptom or sign of infection.


Condition of part of the body with heat, swelling or redness, as a reaction to injury or infection.

Intercourse (sexual)

The sexual act of a penis being placed into a womanís vagina (vaginal intercourse) or a manís anus (anal intercourse). Also, copulation.

Intravenous (IV) drug use

Injecting drugs into veins with needles and syringes.


Damage of the tissue of an organ in the body, a result of disease or wounding.


A substance (e.g., a cream) containing oil or grease.

Lymph nodes

Swellings along the lymph system in the body that act as a filter to prevent foreign particles from entering the bloodstream.


Sexual stimulation of the male or female sexual organs, usually with the hands.

Menses/menstruation/menstrual period

The blood that leaves a womanís body during menstruation.


Period of a womanís life when monthly menstruation stops.


Normally, it is the practice of being married to one person at a time. In the context of this manual, it means having only one sexual partner.

Mucous membranes

A thin tissue which secretes mucus and lines many body cavities and tubular organs.


The feeling that one is about to vomit.


To discuss a problem in order to find a joint solution or decision.


A small swelling.

Opportunistic infection

Infections which take advantage of a personís weakened immune system.

Oral intercourse (oral sex)

Contact of the mouth or tongue with a partnerís penis, vagina or anus during sexual activity.


Reproductive female organ in which ova (eggs) are produced.


The release of ova (eggs) from the ovaries.


The loss of the ability to move (and sometimes to feel anything) in part or most of the body, generally as a result of an illness (such as syphilis), poison or injury.


Used in the context of this manual to describe the act of putting the penis into the vagina or anus whilst having sex.


An infection of the lungs.


Having more than one sexual partner at the same time.


Unicellular and microscopic animals.


The fluid produced in the mouth (spit).


Making tiny punctures or superficial incisions in the skin.

Screening (of blood)

Examination in order to discover the presence or absence of a disease.


The fertilizing fluid that passes through the penis during ejaculation.


Also called HIV-positive or said that a person has seroconverted. About three months after being infected with HIV, the body develops antibodies to the infection. These can be detected in the blood which is tested in a laboratory.


See: HIV-negative.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)

Diseases which can be passed from one person to another by intimate body contact and by sexual intercourse.

Sex worker

A person, male or female, who offers sex in return for money.

Spermicide cream

Cream containing a substance able to kill spermatozoa.


In the context of womenís health, condition of not being able to become pregnant.


In the context of the manual, technique to make utensils free from living microorganisms, to make them sterile.


A sign of a disease.


Sexually transmitted disease (see Fact sheet pages 74-76).


Two small organs on each side of the throat near the root of the tongue.

Traumatic sexual practices

Sexual practices which involve some damage, major or minor, to the body of either partner involved in having sex. This will include tiny cuts in the mouth or vagina or on the penis caused by prolonged rubbing.

Tuberculosis (TB)

An infectious disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It generally affects the lungs but can also affect other organs such as the bones. It is treatable by antibiotics. It is still very common in some parts of the world, especially in those with a high rate of HIV infections. Because of their weakened immune system, HIV-infected people are more vulnerable to tuberculosis.


Open sore on external or internal surface of the body.


Female pear-shaped organ where the fertilized embryo is nourished, protected and grows during pregnancy, until birth.


The small fleshy projection hanging from the back of the roof of the mouth above the throat.


A substance, given by injection or orally, which prevents people from becoming sick from certain diseases, even if they come into contact with them.


Part of the birth canal of a woman that leads to the womb. It is a 10 to 15 cm muscular tube.

Vaginal intercourse (vaginal sex)

Penetration of the vagina by the penis.

Vaginal secretions

The lubricating fluid of the vagina which increases when a woman becomes sexually excited.


A very simple organism (smaller than bacteria) capable of causing disease.

Window period

The time between when a person gets infected and the moment his/her body starts to produce antibodies.