The following glossary is adapted from the glossary provided by Planned Parenthood at https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/glossary.
Abstinence: Not having sex with a partner. However, abstinence means different things to different people, and being abstinent won’t protect you from all STDs if there is still some intimate contact.
Abstinence-only programs: Curricula that teach abstinence as the only morally correct option for unmarried people. They do not include information about the health benefits of condoms for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and other methods of birth control for the prevention of unintended pregnancy.
Acquaintance rape: Sexual intercourse that is forced by someone the victim knows.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS: the most advanced stage of HIV disease.
Adolescence: The period of physical and emotional change between the beginning of puberty and early adulthood.
Adrenarche: The time in early puberty when secondary sex characteristics begin to develop.
Age of consent: The age at which state law considers a person old enough to decide to have sex with a partner. Typically 16.
Age of majority: The age at which state law recognizes a person as a legal adult. Typically 18.
AIDS: See acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Amenorrhea: A lack of menstruation.
Androgens: Certain hormones that stimulate male sexual development and secondary male sex characteristics. Large amounts are produced in men’s testicles and small amounts are produced in women’s ovaries. The most common androgen is testosterone.
Andropause: The gradual decline in sexual vigor as men age, due to decreasing levels of testosterone. Similar to menopause in women.
Anesthesia: Medication that causes a loss of sensation and protects against pain during medical procedures.
Antibiotics: Medicines that are used to cure infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or protozoa.
Antibody: A protein developed by the immune system in response to a toxin introduced into the body.
Anus: The opening from the rectum from which solid waste (feces) leaves the body.
Areola: The dark area surrounding the nipples of women and men.
Atrophic vaginitis: A vaginal irritation without a discharge caused by lowered levels of estrogen due to age.