Acidity: The presence of excess
hydrogen ions (protons) compared to hydroxide ions. The opposite of
alkalinity; low on the pH scale.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS): A sexually-transmitted disease
caused by infection with the
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS is
characterized by a loss of immune function, usually over several years,
which makes the HIV-infected person susceptible to other infections.
Alkalinity: The presence of excess
hydroxide ions compared to hydrogen ions (protons). The opposite of
acidity; high on the pH scale.
Antimicrobial properties: The ability
of any substance to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
Antiviral agents: Compounds that
inhibit the replication of a virus.
Attachment: The process by which a
virus specifically binds its host cell to begin the process of viral
Bacterial vaginosis: A bacterial
infection of the vagina marked by a discharge and an odor.
Barrier methods: Contraception or disease control methods that utilize
a physical barrier to limit the exchange of bodily fluids following sexual
activity. Condoms and diaphragms are
among the most commonly used barriers.
Broad-spectrum microbicide: A substance
that can inactivate several types of pathogens to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Carrageenan: A natural sulfated polymer and polysaccharide produced by
Cervical cancer: A potentially deadly
uncontrolled growth of cells of the cervix, which is the neck of a
Chlamydia: A common
sexually-transmitted disease of humans that is
caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachmatis.
Clinical trials: Medical testing of
human subjects to determine the effectiveness of pharmaceutical products
or treatment methods.
Commercial sex workers: People who
engage in sexual activity in exchange for money.
Condom: A sheath that covers the penis
to prevent semen from entering the vagina during sexual activity. A
variation known as the female condom consists of a polyurethane sheath
with a flexible polyurethane ring, which is inserted into the vagina much
like a diaphragm, and a lining to protect the vaginal walls during sexual
Contraception: The prevention of
Dextrin sulfate: A polysaccharide,
or large carbohydrate molecule made of several sugars linked together,
that is a specific type of sulfated polymer.
Diaphragm: A contraceptive device in
the form of a shallow molded rubber cup that fits into the vagina over the
cervix and is held in place by the vaginal muscles.
DNA viruses: Viruses that consist of a
DNA genome surrounded by a protein coat.
Efficacy: The ability of a treatment
mechanism or drug to achieve its goal under ideal conditions.
Epidemiology: The study of disease
transmission and the distribution of diseases within communities.
Genetically engineered plant: A plant
that has had its genome altered in order to produce desired effects.
Genital warts: Soft, cauliflower-like
growths found in and around the genital regions.
Gonorrhea: A sexually-transmitted
disease that causes urethritis and other
complications in humans. It is
caused by the bacterium Neisseria
Herpesvirus: Any of a family of
DNA viruses that mature in nuclei of infected
cells and are the causative agents of some skin diseases.
Highly active antiretroviral activity
A treatment for AIDS which combines several
antiviral agents that inhibit the growth of
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): The
causative viral agent of AIDS.
Inhibitor of viral entry: A substance
that prevents a virus from attaching to a host cell, thus preventing
Lactic acid bacteria: Bacteria that
produce lactic acid as a result of carbohydrate fermentation. One species
of lactic acid bacteria that is part of the normal human vaginal
microflora is Lactobacillus
Lesions: Breakages in tissue.
Microflora: The normal population of
microorganisms in a healthy organism.
Monoclonal antibodies: Proteins
produced by the immune system, which can be synthesized in the laboratory
in pure form by a single clone (population) of cells.
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase
inhibitors: Compounds that inhibit an RNA-directed DNA polymerase, that do not mimic nucleosides.
Nucleoside reverse transcriptase
inhibitors: Compounds that inhibit an RNA-directed DNA polymerase
by mimicking nucleosides, the building blocks of nucleic acids.
Papillomavirus: Any of several DNA viruses that cause tumors of the epithelium.
Pathogens: Organisms that cause
Placebo: An inactive substance that is
clinical trials to determine the efficacy of a
Proteinase inhibitors: Compounds that
prevent proteinases from metabolizing
RNA viruses (retroviruses): Viruses
that consist of an RNA genome surrounded by a protein coat. An RNA virus
must use RNA-directed DNA polymerase to
convert its genome to DNA so
that new viral RNA can be synthesized.
Infections that are passed from one person to another as a result of
Spermicide: A product that kills,
immobilizes or inactivates sperm cells, which helps to prevent
Sulfated polymer: A large
Syphilis: A sexually-transmitted
disease caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema
Tenofovir: A nucleoside reverse
transcriptase inhibitor and antiviral
agent that has been shown to inhibit
the replication of HIV.
disease caused by the protozoan
Toxicity: The quality of poisonousness
or the ability of something to kill.
Urethritis: An inflammation of the
urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the exterior of
Yeast infection: An inflammation of the vagina caused by an overgrowth of Candida yeast.