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Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) the stage of HIV where the immune system is severely compromised and some illnesses may cause major problems


Access to care following diagnosis, an individual promptly begin receiving needed medical, medical-related, and social services; service providers have the skills and the cultural competence to meet their needs


Adolescence the period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.


Antiretroviral Drugs/Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) drugs, typically pills, that are prescribed preventively as a treatment for HIV


Assigned sex at birth the sex, usually male or female, assigned to a child at birth, most often based on the child’s external anatomy. Also referred to as birth sex, natal sex, biological sex, or sex.


Cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4+) a protein embedded in the cell surface of T-supporter (lymphocyte) cells; HIV invades cells by first attaching to the CD4 receptor.


CD4+ count (or, T-cell count) the actual number of T-supporter cells in a microliter of blood. The CD4+ count is lower in people whose immune system has been affected by HIV.


Cisgender a person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth correspond (e.g., a person who is not transgender).


Community Based Organization (CBO) an organization that provides services on a local level.


Gay a sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their own gender. It can be used regardless of gender identity, but is more commonly used to describe men.


Gender identity a person’s inner sense of being a boy/man/male, girl/woman/female, another gender, or no gender.


Gender expression describes the ways (e.g., feminine, masculine, androgynous) in which a person communicates their gender to the world through their clothing, speech, behavior, etc. Gender expression is fluid and is separate from assigned sex at birth or gender identity.


Gender non-conforming describes a gender expression that differs from a given society’s norms for males and females.


Heterosexual (straight) a sexual orientation that describes women who are emotionally and sexually attracted to men, and men who are emotionally and sexually attracted to women


Homophobia the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of lesbian or gay people or those who are perceived as such.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, which is crucial to fighting off infections and diseases. The virus, if untreated, can cause someone to develop AIDS


LGBTQ an acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning”

Lesbian a sexual orientation that describes a woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women.

Linkage to care a systematic process of initiation of HIV-related medical, psychological and social services for people newly diagnosed with HIV.


Mentor an individual that supports someone’s personal growth and development by providing meaningful guidance, resources, and coaching


Mentorship a mutual, committed relationship designed to promote personal and professional development


Men who have sex with men/Women who have sex with women (MSM/WSW) categories that are often used in research and public health settings to collectively describe those who engage in same-sex sexual behavior, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, people rarely use the terms MSM or WSW to describe themselves.


Medical adherence refers to whether an individual takes their medications as prescribed, as well as whether they continue to take a prescribed medication


Non-binary (NB) describes a person whose gender identity falls outside of the traditional gender binary structure.


Peer navigator medication adherent role models usually living with a shared experience and a shared community membership as the populations they work with


Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) an HIV prevention strategy that involves taking HIV medications immediately after a potential exposure, such as condomless sex without the use of PrEP


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) a medication taken daily that can reduce a person’s chances of acquiring HIV by up to 92%


Retention in care young people living with HIV complete their treatment regimens and continue regular medical visits for chronic illnesses, which supports them in avoiding complications and hospitalizations and contributes to improved health status.


Ryan White a federally mandated program, which provides HIV-related health services to disadvantaged individuals who are underinsured or lack sufficient healthcare coverage to combat HIV seroconversions.


Same gender loving (SGL) a term used as an alternative to the terms gay and lesbian. SGL is more commonly used by members of the Black community


Social stigma negative stereotypes and social status of a person or group based on perceived characteristics that separate that person or group from other members of a society.

Structural stigma societal conditions, policies, and institutional practices that restrict the opportunities, resources, and well-being of certain groups of people.


Transgender (Trans) describes a person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth do not correspond. Also used as an umbrella term to include gender identities outside of male and female. Sometimes abbreviated as trans.


Trans man/transgender man/female-to-male (FTM) A transgender person whose gender identity is male may use these terms to describe themselves. Some will just use the term man.


Trans woman/transgender woman/male-to-female (MTF) A transgender person whose gender identity is female may use these terms to describe themselves. Some will just use the term woman.


Transition a multifaceted, active process that attends to the medical, psychosocial, and educational/vocational needs of adolescents as they move from the child focused to the adult focused healthcare system


Transphobia The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of transgender or gender non-conforming people or those who are perceived as such


Undetectable people in this group know their HIV positive status. They see a medical provider regularly and take their HIV medications as prescribed. Consequently, the amount of HIV in their blood is lower than the threshold detectable by available tests.

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