Glossary


Antiretroviral 
A substance that stops or suppresses the activity of a retrovirus such as HIV. AZT, ddC and ddI are examples of antiretroviral drugs. 
Clinical Trial 
A test of a new or experimental drug in people. Also called drug trials or studies. 
Comparison trial 
A trial in which experimental drugs are tested against each other or against an approved drug. 
Controlled trials 
Trials in which one group gets the experimental drug and another group gets either a placebo or an approved drug as part of the control group of the study. 
Dose comparison 
A trial that uses different amounts of the same drug. Sometimes the drug is tested against a placebo. 
Dose escalation 
In this type of trial a few people take a small amount of the drug. If it doesn't hurt them, a few more take a larger amount. This continues until the researchers find the largest amount of the drug that can be taken without immediate harm. 
Double-blind 
A type of clinical trial in which people are divided into different groups. One group takes the experimental drug and other groups take different doses, the standard therapy, or a placebo. Neither the researchers nor the people in the trial know who is taking what until the trial is over. 
Expanded Access 
Programs designed to make experimental drugs available on a wide basis to people who do not qualify for the clinical trials or who live too far from a trial site. 
HAART 
Highly active antiretroviral therapy. Refers to a combination of anti-HIV drugs. 
IND -  Investigational New Drug

This is the name given to an experimental drug after the FDA agrees that it can be tested in people. 
Informed Consent 
The name given to the process during which a person weighs the known and possible risks and benefits of a trial, then agrees voluntarily to participate. When someone agrees to be in a trial, they sign an agreement called an Informed Consent Form. 
Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria 
The medical or other reasons why a person may or may not be allowed to enter a trial. For example, some trials do not allow pregnant women to join, others do not allow people to take certain drugs, and others exclude people with certain illnesses. 
IRB - Institutional Review Board. 

Every institution or hospital that conducts research involving human subjects must have an IRB that approves and periodically reviews the research. The IRB protect the rights of the people in the trial, determines who can participate in the trial, and whether the trial is ethical. 
Naive 

If you haven't taken any HIV treatments before, you are said to be treatment naive. 
Open-label Trial 
A type of clinical trial in which researchers and participants know who is taking the experimental drug or the
treatment being given. 
Placebo 
A substance that has no effect on the body that is given to onegroup in a placebo-controlled trial. Often referred to
as a sugar pill. 
Protocol 
A detailed plan stating a clinical trial's purpose, drug dosages, length of treatment, how the drug is given, and inclusion/exclusion criteria. 
Randomized Trial 
A trial in which people are assigned to one of two or more treatments by chance. Usually a computer is used to be sure that everyone has the same chance of getting on any given part of the trial. 
Salvage Trial 
a clinical trial, often open-label, for people who have failed several many different approved HIV treatment combinations. 
Side Effects 
All prescription drugs can sometimes have unwanted effects, known as side effects. Laboratory testing (bloodwork) is one of the methods used to monitor for potential side effects. 
Toxicity 
Describes some of the possible side effects of a drug. Also indicates how much of a drug can safely be taken. 
Treatment Experienced 
If you have taken some or many different HIV drugs treatments, you are said to be treatment experienced. If you're
doing well with what you're on, you are stable. 
Treatment IND 
An FDA program that makes experimental drugs available to seriously ill people. Drug companies may charge for the
drug, although most don't. 
Undetectable 
means the amount of HIV in the blood sample is too low to be measured, but it doesn't mean that there is no HIV
there at all. 
Viral Load Test 
The viral load test measures the amount of HIV in a blood sample.

 
 


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