Category: A

Advance Directives

Since the mid-1970s, a great deal of attention has been focused on advance or prospective health care planning as a way for individuals to maintain some control over their future medical treatment even if they eventually become physically and/or mentally unable to make and express important decisions about their own care. Proponents of advance care [...]

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Adultery

Adultery

Adultery is consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person’s spouse. Adultery is rarely charged as a crime. It is more often a concern as a part of a divorce case. Adultery is one of many possible grounds for divorce in the majority of states in the United States. Historically, [...]

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Adoption

Adoption is both a legal event and a lifelong experience that affects birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. The birth family, the adoptee, and the adoptive family are known as the adoption triad. It is estimated that 2-5% of American households include adopted children. This translates into over 100,000 adoptions occurring in the United States [...]

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Adolescence

Adolescence

Adolescence, by many accounts, is a period rooted in culture and society. Prior to the industrial revolution, children were treated like adults and worked side by side with their parents in the factories. Industrialization during the 19th century led to new patterns of work that excluded children, lengthened the amount of formal schooling, and brought [...]

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Adolescent development in context

Adolescent development in context

Biological Changes Adolescence marks the most rapid and significant biological changes throughout the life span with the exception of infancy. Puberty and menarche (see entries in this encyclopedia) end with the ability to reproduce and the appearance of a physical adult form. The main physical manifestations of these changes are a dramatic growth in height [...]

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Addiction Ethics

Although women today make up nearly a third of those persons who abuse substances in the U.S. population, they have often been neglected in research and clinical care. Since the 1970s, increasing academic and governmental attention has been focused on the needs of addicted women. However, significant ethical challenges remain in the effort to provide [...]

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Addiction

Addiction

Addiction is a common language term for the clinical entity known as Chemical Dependence. For decades Americans have known the term addiction to indicate an individual who is out of control in their use of mood-altering drugs. The term addiction has taken on a connotation that is highly stigmatized (like the term “alcoholic” is much [...]

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Acute Myocardial Infarction

Acute Myocardial Infarction

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. In fact, according to the 2003 statistical update from the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease kills over 7 million women annually in the United States, more than the next seven causes of death combined. Of these cardiovascular deaths, the most common [...]

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Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a medical treatment that has emerged from the naturalist school of thought in China over 2,000 years ago. It has been modified and perfected over the course of its existence and has been adapted by other cultures. Acupuncture is one part of a Chinese medical system based on the production and flow of [...]

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Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living

The ability of an individual to provide self-care or function independently is often referred to by the phrase “activities of daily living.” This phrase is often used to describe physical functioning, or those functions an individual performs daily for his or her own safety and health maintenance. In the early 1960s, Katz et al. described [...]

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Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome

Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome

(AIDS) AIDS is a medical diagnosis by a physician of a set of symptoms or conditions based on specific criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These criteria include infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and either the presence of one or more defined AIDS indicator diseases or other indicators of [...]

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HIV transmission

HIV can be transmitted through blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid or “pre-cum”), vaginal fluid, or breast milk. The most common modes are: sexual intercourse (anal, vaginal, or oral sex) with an HIV-infected person; sharing needles, syringes, or injection equipment with an injecting drug user (IDU) infected with HIV; and from HIV-infected women to babies before [...]

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HIV testing

HIV testing

The only way to determine for sure whether someone is infected is to be tested for HIV infection. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms for many years. The tests commonly used detect antibodies produced by the body to fight HIV. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 3 months [...]

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State of the HIV/AIDs epidemic

Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is rapidly approaching 50 million, of whom almost 50% are women. In several regions of the world, the proportion of women exceeds 50%. The United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) program estimates that 5 million new HIV infections occurred in 2001, or approximately [...]

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Preventing HIV transmission

Preventing HIV transmission

Abstaining from engagement in any behavior that carries risk of acquiring HIV (e.g., sexual intercourse or using and injecting drugs) is the most effective way to avoid HIV, but not always the most realistic. To minimize risk for those who choose to be sexually active, the CDC recommends the following: engage in sex that does [...]

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Care and treatment

The field of HIV/AIDS care is advancing at a breathtaking speed. New developments are rapidily superseded by even newer data. Recommendations for antiretroviral treatment and alternative regimens continue to evolve as new medications are developed and additional data from clinical trials is presented. As a consequence, treatment protocols will not be described here in deference [...]

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Social/Psychosocial challenges and needs

Many social/psychosocial issues, including homosexuality, drug use, mental illness, racism, homelessness, and poverty, are linked inextricably to the context of HIV/AIDS by association with the communities that it has heavily impacted, in addition to the clinical challenges of the disease itself and its toll on the health and well-being of those infected. For many women [...]

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Acne

Acne

Acne vulgaris is a common disorder affecting the skin. It specifically involves the pilosebaceous unit, consisting of the hair follicle and sebaceous gland. The cause is multifactorial and the four major causal components are proliferation of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, abnormal shedding of the cells lining the pores, androgen-induced sebum production, and inflammation. It primarily [...]

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Acculturation

Acculturation has been defined as the process of cultural change that immigrants undergo when they enter in contact with a new, host culture. Immigrants bring their own cultural identity, language, values, beliefs, and behaviors, which might differ from those of the host culture. Although it is less common to acknowledge that the host culture can [...]

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Access to Health Care

Access to Health Care

Access to health care has dominated the health policy scene for several decades. In the early 1990s, national legislation, “universal access” to health care, was introduced by President Clinton and the Congress as a way to provide health security for all Americans. Lively debates were generated and the topic commanded national attention. The effort, although [...]

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