STARHS – this is a type of HIV test that can indicate whether you are likely to have been infected within the last six months. STARHS stands for Serological Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion. In the UK this test is now …

selective pressure

selective pressure – this is when a factor in the environment causes one type of organism to develop and grow in preference to another. With HIV drug resistance, the presence of a drug exerts selective pressure for resistance to develop. …


superinfection – another term for reinfection.

secondary mutation

secondary mutation – see minor mutation.

second-line therapy

second-line therapy – the combination of used after your first treatment has failed.

salvage therapy

salvage therapy – a term for the combination therapy used after someone has developed resistance to three or more classes of HIV drugs. Also called ‘third-line’ or ‘rescue therapy’ or ‘treatment of patients with multidrug resistance’.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome – a type of severe rash that is luckily rare. This rash has been reported in 0.1–0.3% of people using NNRTIs. It can also occur with other drugs including antibiotics (including cotrimoxazole/Septrin). Any rash on an NNRTI should …

specificity (of a test)

specificity – when referring to the accuracy of a test result, specificity refers to the proportion of people who do not have an illness or disease who have a negative test result. If a test has low specificity, the concern …

Sensitivity – of a test or drug

sensitivity – when referring to the accuracy of a test result, sensitivity refers to the proportion of people with an illness or disease who have a positive test result. If a test has low sensitivity, then false-negative results are the …


somnolence – feeling sleepy or drowsy, especially during the day.


syphilis – an STI that is a bacterial infection, usually transmitted by sexual contact. Untreated, syphilis can cause serious injury to an unborn baby.


symptomatic – showing signs of illness.


symptom – a sign of illness.

surrogate marker

surrogate marker – an indirect measure for something else that can not be easily measured directly (ie a CD4 count is an indirect marker for HIV progression).

Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs)

Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) – detailed information about a drug provided by the maker that is approved by the European Regulatory Agency (EMEA/CPMP). Also called EPARs. EMEA published SPCs

substitution therapy

substitution therapy – using a prescription drug, eg methadone or buprenorphine, to stop using heroin.

study population

study population – the group of people in a study.

STI (sexually transmitted infection)

STI (sexually transmitted infection) – other STIs include herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis etc.

standard deviation (SD)

standard deviation (SD) – the standard deviation from a mean average, is a measure of the degree of variation from the mean.

spinal tap

spinal tap – See lumbar puncture.

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