A treatment glossary

active: in drug resistance, “active” means that a drug has activity against HIV, which in turn means that the drug can control HIV (as opposed to “resistant”)

agent: not a spy, but simply a drug or substance; HIV drugs are “agents”

antiretroviral: HIV is a retrovirus, so medications used for treating it are “anti-retrovirals”

ART: short for “antiretroviral therapy;” the term “highly active antiretroviral therapy,” abbreviated as HAART, is no longer used because most HIV regimens on the market today are highly active—in other words, very effective against HIV

ARV: the abbreviation for “antiretroviral”

assay: an “assay” is a test barrier to resistance: some HIV medications have a “high barrier to resistance,” which means that they’re hard for HIV to develop resistance mutations against

BIC: abbreviation for the HIV medication bictegravir, the primary drug in Biktarvy

boosted darunavir: see darunavir; this HIV medication must have its drug levels boosted—raised—by taking it with Norvir or Tybost

clinical progression: refers to signs or symptoms of disease

continuum of care: the stages from HIV diagnosis to getting into medical care to getting onto treatment to establishing undetectable viral load

darunavir: the generic name of the HIV drug Prezista, which is also found in Prezcobix

DTG: abbreviation for dolutegravir

dolutegravir: the generic name of the HIV drug Tivicay, which is also found in Dovato, Juluca, and Triumeq

DRV: abbreviation for darunavir 

HIV RNA: refers to the genetic material of the virus—what’s measured by a viral load test

hepatocellular damage: damage to the cells of the liver

investigational agent: a drug that’s still in research development 

multidisciplinary: using the skills and resources of different workers and professionals; for example, doctors, pharmacists, and peer navigators

mutation: does not refer to a physical deformity, but simply to a change in HIV genes (its genetic code). Mutations may lead to drug resistance. 

regimen: the drug or drugs taken for therapy; in HIV, multiple drugs can be taken as one pill that makes up the entire regimen (called “single-tablet regimens”—STRs).

resistance: “when a bacteria, virus, or other microorganism mutates (changes form) and becomes insensitive to (resistant to) a drug that was previously effective. Drug resistance can be a cause of HIV treatment failure.”—Clinical Info

suppression: lowering HIV viral load, especially to undetectable levels 

viral suppression: see “suppression”

viremia: the presence of virus in blood

virologic: refers to “virus”; for example, “virologic suppression”

virologic failure: “A type of HIV treatment failure. Virologic failure occurs when antiretroviral therapy (ART) fails to suppress and sustain a person’s viral load to less than 200 copies/mL. Factors that can contribute to virologic failure include drug resistance, drug toxicity, and poor adherence to ART.”—Clinical Info

Check out clinicalinfo.hiv.gov/en/glossary.