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STD Related Terms

- C -

  • Cancer

  • A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

  • Candida

  • A group of yeast-like fungi, in particular Candida albicans, that infect the mouth as well as other mucous membranes in the esophagus, intestines, vagina, throat and lungs. Oral or recurrent vaginal candida infection is an early sign of immune system deterioration.

  • Candidiasis

  • An infection due to candida yeast. The symptoms of oral candidiasis (thrush) and vaginal candidiasis (formerly called monilia) include pain, itching, redness and white patches in their respective sites. Some common treatments are clotrimazole, nystatin and miconazole.

  • Carcinoma

  • Cancer that begins in the lining or covering of an organ.

  • Carcinoma in situ

  • Cancer that involves only the cells in which it began and that has not spread to other tissues.

  • Catheter

  • A flexible tube that is placed in a body cavity to insert or withdraw fluids.

  • Cauterization

  • The use of heat to destroy abnormal cells. Also called diathermy or electrodiathermy.

  • CD4

  • The protein structure on the surface of a human cell that allows HIV to attach, enter, and thus infect a cell. CD4 receptors are present on CD4 cells (helper T-cells), macrophages and dendritic cells, among others. Normally, CD4 acts as an accessory molecule, forming part of larger structures (such as the T-cell receptor) through which T-cells and other cells signal each other.

  • CD4 Cell

  • A type of T-cell involved in protecting against viral, fungal and protozoal infections. The CD4 cell modulates the immune response to an infection through a complex series of interactions with antigen presenting cells (macrophages, dendritic cells and B cells) and other types of lymphocytes (B-cells and CD8 cells). Other names for CD4 cell are T-helper cell or helper T-cell.

  • CD4 Cell Count

  • The most commonly used surrogate marker for assessing the state of the immune system. As CD4 cell count declines, the risk of developing opportunistic infections increases. The normal range for CD4 cell counts is 500 to 1500 per cubic millimeter of blood. CD4 count should be rechecked at least every six to twelve months if CD4s are greater than 500/mm3. If the count is lower, testing every three months is advised.

  • Cell culture

  • A diagnostic test for many kinds of viruses. In a cell culture for HSV, a swab of the patient's herpes lesion is placed in a dish containing normal skin cells to see if HSV will grow.

  • Cellular immune response

  • The portion of the body's immune response that involves T-lymphocytes or other cells designed to fight an 'antigen' or invading microbe.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • The federal public health agency serving as the center for preventing, tracking, controlling and investigating the epidemiology of AIDS and other diseases.

  • Cervical Dysplasia

  • An abnormal tissue growth on the cervix which may progress to cancer if not treated in time. Cervical dysplasia is detected through a Pap Smear.

  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia

  • A general term for the growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix. Numbers from 1 to 3 may be used to describe how much of the cervix contains abnormal cells. Also called CIN.

  • Cervix

  • The lower, cylindrical end of the uterus that forms a narrow canal connecting the upper (uterus) and lower (vagina) parts of a women's reproductive tract.

  • Chancroid

  • A highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by the Hemophilus ducreyi bacterium. It appears as a pimple, chancre, sore or ulcer on the skin of the genitals. The lesion appears after an incubation period of three to five days and may facilitate the transmission of HIV.

  • Chemotherapy

  • Treatment with anticancer drugs.

  • Chlamydia

  • The fastest-spreading STD in the U.S., chlamydia infects as many as four million men and women each year. As many as 85 percent of cases in women and 40 percent of cases in men are symptomless. If undetected and untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious complications in women. Each year, chlamydia causes as many as half of the one million cases of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the female reproductive organs that can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Infants born to mothers with chlamydia may be infected with chlamydial conjunctivitis or pneumonia. When symptoms are present, they usually appear within one to three weeks after sex with an infected partner. Symptoms include abnormal genital discharge and burning during urination. Women may experience lower abdominal pain if PID develops as a result of the chlamydia infection. Men may suffer swelling or pain in the testicles.

  • Chronic

  • Refers to symptoms and diseases that last for an extended period of time without noticeable change.

  • CIN

  • A general term for the growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix. Numbers from 1 to 3 may be used to describe how much of the cervix contains abnormal cells.

  • Clinical

  • Refers to physical signs and symptoms directly observable in the human body.

  • Clinical Trial

  • A study done to test an experimental medicine in human beings to see if it is safe and effective.

  • CMV

  • A herpes infection that causes serious illness in people with AIDS. CMV can develop in any part of the body but most often appears in the retina of the eye, the nervous system, the colon or the esophagus.

  • Cold sores

  • Otherwise known as 'fever blisters' and herpes type-1 infection.

  • Colposcopy

  • A procedure in which the vagina and the surface of the uterine cervix is examined through a lighted microscope (colposcope) for signs of cervical dysplasia or cancer. Colposcopy is a more accurate alternative to Pap smears, but requires considerably more skill to perform.

  • Complementary Medicine

  • Nonmainstream health care provided in addition or instead of standard medical practice. See also Alternative Medicine.

  • Condom

  • Male: A cover for the penis, worn during sex to prevent STDs and pregnancy. Only a latex condom is recommended for protection against disease. Female: There is now a 'female condom' that lines the vagina, which is worn by the woman during sex for similar protection.

  • Condyloma Acuminatum

  • A projecting warty growth on the external genitals or the anus caused by infection with certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is usually a benign or non-cancerous growth. Condyloma acuminatum is also referred to as genital warts or verruca acuminata. Click here for more information on HPV, or call the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines at 800-227-8922. Click here for HPV Support Groups in your area.

  • Conization

  • Surgery to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. Conization may be used to diagnose or treat a cervical condition. Also called cone biopsy.

  • Control Arm

  • The group of participants in a clinical trial who receive standard treatment or a placebo, against which those receiving the experimental treatment are compared.

  • Controlled Trial

  • A clinical study in which one group of participants receives an experimental drug while another group receives either a placebo or an approved standard therapy. When participants do not know which group they are in, the trial is blinded. See also Double-Blind.

  • Costs

  • It is estimated that in 1994, the costs related to a selected group of STDs, other than HIV/AIDS, were approximately $10 billion. The costs related to HIV/AIDS during that year are estimated at $6.7 billion. Much of the cost of STDs result from failure to detect and effectively manage the infections in their early stages.

  • Cryosurgery

  • Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissue.

  • Cyst

  • A sac or capsule filled with fluid.

  • Cystoscopy

  • A procedure in which the doctor inserts a lighted instrument into the urethra (the tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body) to look at the bladder.

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

  • A herpes infection that causes serious illness in people with AIDS. CMV can develop in any part of the body but most often appears in the retina of the eye, the nervous system, the colon or the esophagus.

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STD Terms

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