Your Guide To...BHIVA Standards of Care for People Living with HIV

Glossary of terms and abbreviations

Here is a list of common terms and abbreviations used in these Standards. The 2018 Standards has a more complete list in Appendix 3.

a person who helps guide a patient through the health or social care systems and makes sure their rights are being upheld.

a process used to find out if healthcare is being provided in line with agreed standards. It lets patients and providers know where their service is doing well, and where there could be improvements.

British HIV Association ( BHIVA is a UK association representing professionals in HIV care. It publishes a range of clinical guidelines, covering the treatment and management of HIV and associated illnesses.

BHIVA guidelines:
these are produced for use by healthcare professionals and others for the management of all aspects of HIV care in the UK. They are the starting point for individualised care. They are evidence-based, developed by independent committees with membership that includes knowledgeable professionals, and people living with HIV. All BHIVA guidelines are NICE accredited. Some are available in non-technical form.

Children’s HIV Association ( CHIVA works to ensure young people living with HIV have the treatment and care, knowledge, understanding, skills and wider support needed to live well and achieve their greatest potential.

Drug interaction (sometimes drug–drug interaction, or DDI).
You might not get the correct dose when drugs interact with each other. ARVs may interact with other drugs you might be taking. These other drugs might be prescribed from your GP, or other specialists, to treat other conditions. They could also be other drugs you might buy from a pharmacy or chemist. And they include supplements or recreational drugs. You might get an increased or reduced dose of any of the drugs involved. This means you might not get the correct dose of your ARV, which could lead to increased levels of virus in your blood. Or you might not get the right treatment for your other condition. So this can be very serious. You should check with your HIV doctor and GP if you’re planning to take any drug as well as your ARVs.

Formula milk:
formula milk, also known as baby formula or infant formula, is usually made from cows’ milk that has been treated to make it more suitable for babies. There’s a wide range of brands and types of formula available in pharmacies and shops. It comes in two different forms: a dry powder you make up with water, or a ready-to-feed liquid formula. Formula milk has zero risk of transmitting HIV to your baby.

human immunodeficiency virus.

human papilloma virus. These are viruses that cause warts and there are lots of different types. They are also responsible for cervical cancer, anal cancer and some other cancers. The virus that causes HPV infection is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. It can be contracted during unprotected anal, vaginal or, rarely, oral sex. It’s so common that most sexually active people will get some variety of it at some point, even if they have few sexual partners. Many people have HPV and don’t even know it. It’s possible to have multiple types of HPV.

hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment to relieve symptoms of the menopause. It replaces hormones that are at a lower level as you approach the menopause. HRT is now referred to as menopause hormone therapy (MHT). It should be made available to women living with HIV in the same way that it is for anyone else. It is usually provided through your GP, but expert advice from your HIV care team is needed to avoid any potential drug interaction with your ART.

this is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver. It’s usually the result of a viral infection or liver damage caused by drinking alcohol. There are several different types of viral hepatitis. Some types will pass without any serious problems, while others can be long-lasting (chronic) and cause serious health problems.

Hepatitis A (or hep A):
this is caused by the hepatitis A virus. It’s easy to pass on during sex or get from contaminated food and water. Nearly everyone makes a full recovery. A vaccine is available.

Hepatitis B (or hep B, or HBV):
this is caused by a virus that infects the liver. It’s easy to pass on during sex or by sharing injecting equipment. Most people who get it make a full recovery, but for some, it can be more serious. A vaccine is available.

Hepatitis C (or hep C, or HCV):
this is the most common type of viral hepatitis. It’s caused by a blood-borne virus that attacks the liver and is easily spread by sharing drug injecting equipment. It can also be spread through sex. Without treatment, the virus can cause liver disease that, over a long period, can be fatal. Most people will be offered a 12-week course of tablets with few side effects and a high cure rate. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C.

Home sampling:
this is where you collect a sample of blood, or moisture from your mouth, but then send it away for testing. You will then usually receive the results of the test some days later. If the result is reactive (positive), then this will need to be confirmed by a further test in an HIV clinic.

Home testing:
this is where you collect a sample of blood, or of moisture from your mouth, and test it. You perform the whole test yourself. After a few minutes, you read and interpret your own test result. If the result is reactive (positive), then this will need to be confirmed by a further test in an HIV clinic.

intimate partner violence. This is sometimes called domestic violence and is usually violence from a current or former spouse or partner.

Individualised (or personalised) care:
this involves a whole-system approach, integrating services around the person by involving health, social care, public health and other issues. It is based on ‘what matters’ to the individual, and their individual strengths and needs.

the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. They provide guidance, advice, quality standards and information services for health, public health and social care. They also have resources to help maximise use of evidence and guidance.

pneumonia is swelling (inflammation) of the tissue in one or both lungs. It’s usually caused by a bacterial infection.

Preventative vaccine:
this is given to someone who is free of the targeted infection. By introducing a part of the virus (or bacterium) or an inactive virus (which acts like a decoy) into the body, the immune system reacts by producing antibodies. If, years later, you are exposed to this virus, these antibodies will recognise and destroy it, preventing infection. There are many preventative vaccines, for example, for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, HPV and many more. There is no preventative vaccine for HIV.

this is where you collect a small blood sample yourself and send it off for analysis. You should get a result in a few days.

this is a network for people living with HIV who have a strong interest in HIV treatment and related issues, and who want to make sure people living with HIV are actively involved in all aspects of HIV treatment and care. This is called treatment advocacy.

Viral load:
this is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in your blood. The more HIV there is in your blood (and therefore the higher your viral load), the greater your risk of becoming ill because of HIV. All viral load tests have a cut-off point below which they cannot reliably detect HIV. If your viral load is below 50, it is usually said to be undetectable. Although there are more sensitive tests that can measure viral load to even lower levels, anything less than 50 is still called ‘undetectable’.