List of terms: Population-specific HIV/AIDS status report: Gay, bisexual, two-spirit and other men who have sex with men

List of Terms

Aboriginal Peoples - Refers to First Nations, Inuit and Métis as recognized under the Constitution Act, 1982. These are distinct populations with unique cultural, linguistic, geographic and historic characteristics.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - A condition that describes an advanced stage of HIV infection. With AIDS, the virus has progressed, causing significant loss of white blood cells (CD4 cells) and cancers or infections that result from immune system damage. An AIDS diagnosis is made if a person living with HIV is diagnosed with one or more of the clinical conditions characterized as "AIDS-defining illnesses". Antiretroviral therapy can suppress the HIV virus and slow the progression of the disease. Like HIV, there is no known cure for AIDS.

Barebacking - Also known as 'raw sex' or 'skin to skin sex'. Although there is some inconsistency in the use of the term, barebacking has typically been defined in the literature as "intentional anal sex without a condom with someone other than a primary partner."

Bathhouse - A commercial space, typically equipped with bathing facilities such as showers, saunas and/or steam rooms, which is designed to enable sexual and social encounters among gay and other men who have sex with men.

Bisexual - A person who is attracted sexually and emotionally to both males and females.

Casual male sex partner - A man with whom an individual had or has sexual relations once or a few times and who the individual does not know very well. A casual partner does not include regular partners or men to whom an individual has received or given money, drugs or other goods or services in exchange for sex.

Coming out - The process through which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people acknowledge and disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity and integrate this understanding into their personal and social lives.

Ethnocultural - Refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of an individual or population group.

Femininity - A set of attributes, behaviours, and roles generally associated with girls and women. Femininity is made up of both socially defined and biologically created factors. This makes it distinct from the simple definition of the biological female sex, as women, men, and transgender people can all exhibit feminine traits.

First Nations - A term which usually refers to both Status and Non-Status Indians. First Nations People are one of the three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada, along with Métis and Inuit.

Gay - A person who is sexually and emotionally attracted to members of the same sex. The word gay can refer to both males and females, but is most commonly used to identify males.

Gender - Refers to the array of socially-determined roles, personality traits, attitudes, behaviours, values, relative power and influence that society ascribes to the two sexes on a differential basis. Distinct from sex.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) - A virus that infects the liver. Prolonged and acute hepatitis C infection can often result in liver disease and cirrhosis. The virus is transmitted largely by blood transfusion or percutaneous inoculation, such as needle sharing among people who inject drugs.

Heterosexism - The assumption that everyone is or should be heterosexual and that this sexual orientation is superior. Heterosexism is often the belief system that underlies homophobia.

HIV-endemic country - An HIV-endemic country is defined as having an adult prevalence (ages 15-49) of HIV that is 1.0% or greater and one of the following: (1) 50% or more of HIV cases attributed to heterosexual transmission; (2) a male to female ratio of 2:1 or less; or (3) HIV prevalence greater than or equal to 2% among women receiving prenatal care.

Homophobia - An irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against gay or lesbian people or those perceived to be gay or lesbian. Internalized homophobia occurs when homophobic prejudices and biases are integrated into an individual's belief system. External homophobia occurs when internal homophobic feelings shape people's behaviour towards others that they perceive as different; for example, by prompting social avoidance, verbal abuse, discrimination and in some cases violence. Institutional homophobia refers to discriminatory practices and policies based on sexual orientation exercised by governments, businesses, religious organizations, educational institutions and other institutions.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - The virus that causes AIDS. This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood, sexual contact, and from mother-to-child through pregnancy, delivery, or breast-feeding. HIV attacks the immune system, resulting in a chronic progressive illness that leaves people vulnerable to opportunistic infections and cancers. There is no known cure or vaccine for HIV but, for most, the virus can be managed through daily doses of antiretroviral medication. In the absence of treatment with antiretroviral medication, HIV infection will progress to AIDS.

Injection drug use (IDU) - An epidemiological classification for HIV transmission among people who use injection drugs.

Inuit - Canada's Aboriginal people of the Arctic. Inuit are one of the three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada, along with the First Nations and Métis.

Lesbian - A woman who is attracted sexually and emotionally to other women.

LGBTTQ - A commonly used acronym for the constellation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, and queer identities. Sexual minority is a synonymous term.

Masculinity - Refers to the set of qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a man.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) - An epidemiological classification for HIV transmission.

Men who have sex with men and inject drugs (MSM-IDU) - An epidemiological classification for HIV transmission.

Métis - One of the three recognized Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, along with First Nations and Inuit. Métis are people of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry.

Population health approach - A population health approach focuses on improving the health status of the population. Action is directed at the health of an entire population, or sub-population, rather than individuals. Focusing on the health of populations also necessitates the reduction in inequalities in health status between population groups. An underlying assumption of a population health approach is that reductions in health inequities require reductions in material and social inequities.

Positive (or "poz") prevention - An approach that engages people living with HIV/AIDS in activities that can contribute to preventing onward transmission of HIV.

Regular male sex partner - A man with whom an individual had or has an on-going sexual relationship. A regular partner can be a life partner, a boyfriend, a lover, etc., but does not include casual partners or men to whom an individual has received or given money, drugs or other goods or services in exchange for sex.

Risk factor - A factor associated with an increased chance of getting a disease or infection. It may be a causal determinant or simply a risk marker. Factors associated with decreased risk are known as protective factors.

Sex - Refers to the biological characteristics that generally distinguish males and females. Biological differences include such things as anatomy, genetics, hormones, metabolism and physiology. Distinct from gender.

Sexual health - A state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality, requiring a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - A group of infections that spread from one person to another through sexual contact. This can be vaginal, oral or anal sex, and sometimes skin-to-skin contact.

Sex work - The exchange of sexual services for money or other goods or services.

Transgender - A person whose gender identity, outward appearance, expression and/or anatomy does not fit into conventional expectations of male or female.

Transman or transsexual man - A term used to describe a person, born female or physically assigned as female at birth, whose biological sex is not consistent with his sense of self. As a result, he lives and identifies as a man, and may seek sex reassignment surgery. Female to male (FTM) is another term used to describe a transmen or transgender man.

Transphobia - Refers to the fear and/or hatred of transgender individuals and is exhibited by prejudice, discrimination, intimidation, or acts of violence.

Transwoman or transsexual woman - A term used to describe a person, born male or physically assigned as male at birth, whose biological sex is not consistent with her sense of self. As a result, she lives and identifies as a woman, and may seek sex reassignment surgery. Male-to-female (MTF) is another term used to describe a transwoman or transgender women.

Two-spirit - A term that refers to sexual orientation and/or gender identity within some Aboriginal cultures. The organization 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations defines the term as follows: "Native people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, other gendered, third/fourth gendered individuals that walk carefully between the worlds and between the genders". The term is primarily used by some First Nations.

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