Glossary of HIV/AIDS Related Terms
(Starting with "B")
Glossary of HIV/AIDS Related Terms, 5th Edition, AIDSinfo,
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B Lymphocytes (B
Also known as B cells. Infection-fighting white blood
cells that develop in the bone marrow and spleen. B
lymphocytes produce antibodies. In people with HIV,
the ability of B lymphocytes to do their job may be
See Also: Antibody
A type of cancer of the lymphatic tissue. People with
HIV are more prone to non-Hodgkin's and other B-cell
lymphomas, some of which are considered AIDS-defining
conditions in people with HIV.
See Also: Lymphoma
A natural or man-made substance that kills bacteria.
A natural or man-made substance that can prevent bacteria
from reproducing, but cannot actually kill existing
A microscopic organism consisting of one simple cell.
Bacteria occur naturally almost everywhere on earth,
including in soil, on skin, in the human gastrointestinal
tract, and in many foods. Some bacteria can cause disease
An initial measurement (for example, CD4 count or viral
load) made before starting treatment or therapy for
a disease or condition. In people infected with HIV,
the baseline measurement is used as a reference point
to monitor HIV infection.
An infection-fighting white blood cell that causes inflammation
in response to a micro-organism or other foreign invader.
A protein found on the surface of white blood cells.
Increased production or destruction of white blood cells
causes B2M levels in the blood to increase. This increase
is seen in people with cancers involving white blood
cells and in people with advanced HIV disease.
A yellowish substance excreted by the liver. Its measurement
can be used as an indication of the health of the liver.
Large quantities of bilirubin may cause the skin to
take on a yellow tint (jaundice), and very high levels
may cause brain damage.
Rate and extent to which a drug is absorbed and available
in the tissues of the body.
Response Modifiers (BRMs)
Natural or man-made substances that can boost, direct,
or restore immune system function.
The surgical removal and examination of an organ or
tissue to aid in diagnosis and treatment of a health
Black Box Warning
Information found at the beginning of a drug's prescribing
information, manufacturer labeling, and promotional
material. This information highlights important safety
information, such as serious side effects, drug interactions,
or use restrictions. The black box warning is one of
the strongest warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), and is reserved for drugs with significant risks
or monitoring requirements.
A temporary increase in viral load in someone who previously
had undetectable virus and who later returns to having
undetectable virus. The viral load during a blip is
usually low (50 to 500 copies/mL).
See Also: Undetectable
A selective obstacle between circulating blood and brain
tissues that prevents damaging substances from reaching
the brain. Certain substances easily cross the blood-brain
barrier; others are completely blocked.
Body Habitus Changes
Abnormal changes in the body's physical characteristics.
See Also: Wasting
Bone Marrow Suppression
Damage to the bone marrow stem cells that produce new
blood cells. Suppression of the bone marrow may be caused
by drugs, toxic chemicals, or radiation.
An additional dose or doses of a vaccine taken after
the initial dose to enhance the immune response to the
vaccine. Also used as a term to describe a medicine
given to enhance another medicine, such as using ritonavir
(RTV) as a "booster" for other PIs.
DNA Assay (bDNA Assay)
A test that measures a person's viral load (level of
HIV RNA in the blood) to identify HIV infection and
monitor disease progression and treatment effectiveness.
Results are reported as number of HIV RNA copies per
mL of blood. bDNA assay is an alternative to measuring
viral load by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain
See Also: Reverse
Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction
Visual examination of the bronchial passages of the
lungs using an endoscope (a curved, flexible tube containing
fibers that carry light down the tube and project an
enlarged image of the bronchial passages onto a viewing
screen). Can also be used for extraction of material
from the lungs.
The final step in the HIV life cycle, when an individual
virus pushes out ("buds") from the host cell,
stealing part of the cell's outer envelope and freeing
itself to attach to and infect another host cell.
Also know as small noncleaved cell lymphoma. A type
of non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma that occurs more frequently
in immunocompromised people, such as those infected
See Also: Non-Hodgkin's
Twice a day dosing instructions.
Chain DNA Assay
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