Glossary

Used for glossary terms.

Alcohol

This includes beer, wine and spirits. These substances act as a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol is usually ingested orally as a drink.

Anal sex

Sex that usually involves the insertion of the penis into the anus (penile-anal penetrative sex).

Antiretrovirals

Medication used to kill HIV. In combination it can be used to treat and prevent HIV infection

Synonyms: ARVs
Anus

The region of the bowels which opens onto the skin.

Anxiety

Feeling of nervousness, which may be an emotion, as well as symptoms felt in the body.

Bechet’s disease

An autoimmune disease affecting joints, eyes, mouth and gut.

Biological sex

The term biological sex refers to biologically determined differences, whereas gender refers to differences in social roles and relations. Gender roles are learned through socialisation, and vary widely within and between cultures.

Bisexual

Having sexual partners of both the same and the opposite sex.

See also: Bisexuality Synonyms: bisexuality
Bisexuality

The sexual orientation in which an individual has romantic and/or sexual feelings towards both males and females.

See also: Bisexual
Chancroid

STI caused by the bacterium Haemophylis ducreyi, resulting in ulceration and swollen lymph nodes.

Chlamydia

A group of sexually transmitted bacteria commonly responsible for ‘the drop’/urethritis/proctitis.

Cocaine/crack cocaine

Substances derived from the coca plant which act as a central nervous system stimulant, which can be snorted, injected or smoked.

Coming out

The process of coming to terms with one’s own sexuality (sexual orientation and sexual identity).

Concurrent partners

Having more than one sexual partner at the same time.

Depression

A bad feeling that is present for a few weeks in which mood is low, and sleep and appetite may be affected.

Discharge

Fluid oozing from an area of inflammation, which includes cells aimed at fighting infection and the infectious agent. Discharge may be seen coming from the penis, anus, vagina or throat as a result of selected sexually transmitted infections.

Dual diagnosis

This is given when an individual presents with signs and symptoms for two co-occurring conditions, each requiring treatment and management.

Ecstasy

This belongs to the class of drugs known as amphetamines, which act as a central nervous system stimulant. They are usually ingested orally, but can also be snorted, smoked, injected or inserted anally.

Ejaculation fluid (cum)

Fluid released from the penis during ejaculation (‘cumming’). Many viruses and bacteria that are responsible for sexually transmitted infections can be present in this fluid.

Female condom

Loose-fitting polyurethane sheath with an inner ring at the closed end, and an outer ring at the open end, inserted inside the vagina or anus, for protection against pregnancy and/or HIV and STIs.

Fingering

Using one or more fingers to stimulate the genitals, including the insertion of the fingers into the anus or vagina.

Flashback

The feeling of experiencing or witnessing a situation again (usually a traumatic one).

Frottage

Rubbing penises together for sexual stimulation.

Gay man

A man who has romantic, sexual and/or intimate feelings for other men. ‘Gay’ is generally a more commonly used term for homosexual. The term men who have sex with men (MSM) should be used unless individuals or groups self-identify as gay.

Synonyms: gay, gays
Gender

The term biological sex refers to biologically determined differences, whereas gender refers to differences in social roles and relations. Gender roles are learned through socialisation, and vary widely within and between cultures.

Synonyms: Biological sex
Gender identity

A person’s sense of self as male or female. While most people’s gender matches their biological sex, someone may be born biologically male, yet have a female gender identity.

Genital

Relating to sexual organs.

Gonorrhoea

A sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea, commonly affecting the penis, anus and vagina, and less commonly the throat.

Granuloma inguinale

An STI caused by the bacterium Calymmatobacterium granolomatis, resulting in many painless ulcers and abscesses in the groin.

Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver, which may be caused by a virus, drugs or, rarely, diseases of the immune system.

Heroin

This substance belongs to the class of drugs known as opiates, which act as a central nervous system depressant and analgesic. It is usually taken intravenously (injected).

Herpes

A group of viruses which are spread through direct contact. Herpes simplex type 1 is responsible for ‘cold sores’ – superficial ulcers around the mouth and nose. Herpes simplex type 2 causes most cases of painful sores found around the penis, anus or vagina (genital herpes).

Heterosexuality

The sexual orientation in which an individual has romantic or sexual feelings towards members of the opposite sex.

Synonyms: heterosexual
Homophobia

Discrimination, stigma, fear or hatred based on homosexuality, directed at gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

Homosexuality

The sexual orientation in which an individual has romantic or sexual feelings towards members of the same sex.

Synonyms: homosexuality
Human papilloma virus (HPV)

The virus responsible for genital warts. Different subtypes exist, some of which are associated with the development of anal, penile and cervical cancer.

Synonyms: HPV
Incidence

The number of new people who develop a condition during a particular period of time. This measurement is different to prevalence.

Insertive anal sex

The sexual act in which a man uses his penis to penetrate his partner (may be male or female). This is also called topping, fucking, or being the active role.

Insertive partner (‘top’)

In anal sex, the partner who is inserting his penis into the other partner’s anus.

Synonyms: Top
Intersexed people

Previously referred to as ‘hermaphrodites’, this refers to individuals who are born with a combination of both male and female reproductive organs, chromosomes, and/or hormones that are either fully or partially developed.

See also: Transsexual
Khat

This substance belongs to the class of drugs known as methcathinone which acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It is usually snorted, but can also be taken orally or intravenously, or smoked.

Synonyms: Cat
Lesbian

A woman who has romantic, sexual and/or intimate feelings for other women. The term women who have sex with women (WSW) should be used unless individuals or groups self-identify as lesbians.

LGBTI

Abbreviation for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex’.

Lubricant

Substance that reduces friction during sexual intercourse. Lubricants can be water based (e.g. K-Y Jelly®) or oil-based (e.g. Vaseline®, body cream, cooking oil). Latex male condoms should only be used with water-based lubricants, as oil-based ones weaken latex.

Lymph nodes

Glands which form part of the immune system and are involved in fighting infection. Major groups of glands exist in the inner thigh, in the armpits and in the neck.

Male condom

A sheath placed over the erect penis before sexual intercourse. which prevents pregnancy and HIV/STIs by blocking the exchange of sexual fluids.

Mandrax

This substance belongs to the class of drugs known as methaqualone. It acts as a central nervous system depressant, and is usually ingested orally, but can also be smoked.

Marijuana

This substance acts as a central nervous system depressant and hallucinogen and is usually inhaled by smoking it, but can also be ingested orally.

Synonyms: Dagga
Methamphetamine

This includes speed, crystal meth/tik, which act as a central nervous system stimulant and can be snorted, ingested orally, injected or smoked.

Synonyms: Speed, Crystal meth, Tik
MSM

Men who have sex with men. This term includes not only men who self-identify as gay or homosexual and have sex only with other men but also bisexual men as well as men who self-identify as heterosexual but have sex with other men.

Multiple stigmas

Stigmatising because of two or more perceived differences, e.g. sexual orientation, HIV-positive status and race.

nPEP

Non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis – the use of post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to an infectious agent which is not a result of work practices or exposure.

Oral sex

Contact between the mouth and tongue and genitals (penis, testicles, anus, vagina), which includes licking, sucking, kissing.

Oro-anal sex

Contact between mouth, tongue and anus, including licking (rimming) and kissing the area around the anus and rectum.

See also: Rimming
Penetrative penile-anal sex

Sex act describing the positioning or role of the ‘active’ partner or ‘top’ whose penis is being inserted into the anus of his sexual partner.

PHLA

A person living with HIV/AIDS. Individuals known to be infected with HIV. This includes individuals with early infection and end stage disease (AIDS).

Phobia

Excessive anxiety or fear about a specific object or situation.

Physiological

Relating to the physical body.

Post-exposure prophylaxis

The use of medication to prevent infection after exposure to an infectious agent – preventive treatment (antiretroviral drugs typically taken for four weeks) started immediately (within 72 hours) after exposure to the HIV virus in order to prevent the virus from developing inside the body.

Synonyms: PEP
Prevalence

The number of people who currently have a particular condition within a particular period of time. This measurement is different to incidence

Proctitis

Inflammation of the rectum, commonly due to a sexually transmitted infection in the rectum.

Prostate

A large internal gland which surrounds the urethra at the base of the bladder which produces some of the liquid and substances found in ejaculation fluid.

Prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate commonly due to an infection. This may occur as a complication of urethritis.

Receptive anal sex

Sex act describing the positioning or role of the ‘passive’, ‘receptive’, ‘bottom’ whose anus is being entered.

Receptive partner (‘bottom’)

In anal sex, refers to the partner whose anus is being penetrated by the other partner’s penis.

Rectum

The lower region of the bowels linking the descending colon to the anus – also referred to as the rectal passage.

Reiter’s syndrome

A collection of urethritis, joint disease and eye symptoms.

Rimming

Licking/kissing the anus with the tongue/mouth.

See also: Oro-anal sex Synonyms: Oro-anal sex
Sero-conversion

The time when an infectious agent is present in the body.

Sero-discordant relationship

A romantic or sexual relationship between two people of differing HIV status.

Serodiscordant relationship

Refers to a romantic or sexual relationship between two people of differing HIV statuses.

Serosorting

The process of selecting a sexual partner based on their HIV status. For example, an HIV positive man may ‘serosort’ and seek out only other HIV positive men as sexual partners.

Sexual behaviour

The manner in which people express their sexuality. Examples of this behaviour can include physical or emotional intimacy and sexual contact.

Sexual orientation

The term used to describe the set of emotional, physical and romantic feelings an individual has towards others. These feelings and behaviours are usually directed towards men, women or both men and women.

Sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Infection transmitted and acquired through sexual contact.

Synonyms: STI
Stereotype

To perceive all members of some group as if they all were all identical, e.g. to see all MSM as being effeminate.

Stigma

Shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable.

Stigmatise

The action of treating someone differently or unfairly because of some perceived difference (e.g. sexual behaviour, gender).

Substance abuse

A pattern of repeated substance use despite the negative consequences (not to be confused with substance dependence).

Substance dependence

A pattern of habitual substance use that involves physical dependence (with increased tolerance and withdrawal), psychological dependence, and behavioural dependence.

Symptom

Feeling or problem as experienced by a client, participant or individual.

Syphilis

A sexually transmitted infection caused by Treponema pallidum, one of the ‘genital ulcer diseases’.

Thigh sex

The act of rubbing the penis between the partner’s thighs.

Transactional sex

The process of exchanging sex for goods, money, shelter, food or other items or services.

Transgender

A person who has a gender identity that is different from his or her sex at birth. Transgender people may be male to female (female appearance) or female to male (male appearance). It is preferable to describe them as ‘he’ or ‘she’ according to their gender identity, i.e. the gender that they are presenting, not their sex at birth.

Transphobia

The fear, rejection or aversion, often in the form of stigmatising attitudes or discriminatory behaviour, towards transsexuals, transgender people and transvestites.

Transsexual

A person is in the process of or has undertaken surgery and/or hormonal treatment in order to make his or her body more congruent with his or her preferred gender.

See also: Intersexed people Synonyms: Intersexed
Transvestite

A person who wears clothes associated with the opposite gender in order to enjoy the temporary experience of membership of the opposite gender. A transvestite does not necessarily desire a permanent sex change or other surgical reassignment.

Ulcer

A sore which involves a break in the protective covering provided by skin.

Unprotected anal intercourse

Anal sex, penis in anus, which occurs without the protection provided by a condom.

Urethritis

Inflammation of the urethra, the pipe linking the bladder to the outside, along which urine passes. Commonly caused by the bacteria gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

Vaginal sex

Sex which usually involves the insertion of the penis into the vagina (penile-vaginal penetrative sex).

Warts

Growths on the skin, caused by the human papilloma virus which is responsible for warts in the genital area.

WSW

Abbreviation for women who have sex with women. This term includes not only women who self-identify as lesbian or homosexual and have sex only with other women but also bisexual women as well as women who self-identify as heterosexual but have sex with other women.

Synonyms: Women who have sex with women
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