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Glossary

anogenital tract
The anus and external and internal sex organs of both men and women.
antibody
A type of protein produced by the body's immune system. Antibodies respond to antigens by binding to them. This process results in the elimination of the antigens or infected human cells.
antigen
Any foreign substance that when introduced into the body stimulates an immune response.
basal layer
The bottom-most layer of epithelium.
cancer
A disease caused by the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body.
cell
The fundamental microscopic unit that is the building block of all living things except viruses.
cell division
When cells divide and duplicate.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
A molecule found in almost every cell that contains an organism's genetic code. DNA is made of two strings of bases wound in a helix, or spiral, shape.
epithelial cells
Epithelial cells make up the tissue that covers the outside of the body and lines internal cavities. Tissue made of layers of epithelial cells is called the epithelium.
evolution
The scientific theory for how groups of living things change over time.
genetics
The scientific study of heredity. Also, the genetic constitution of an individual, group, or class.
host
An organism that provides food or shelter for another organism.
HPV
See human papillomaviruses
human papillomaviruses (HPV)
A family of viruses that infects the body's epithelial cells. They are called papillomaviruses because they can cause noncancerous tumors called papillomas, otherwise known as warts.
immune system
The components of the body that prevent and fight disease.
oropharynx
The mouth, tongue, and throat region.
protein
Any of a group of complex organic compounds which contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and usually sulfur, the characteristic element being nitrogen; widely distributed in plants and animals.
radiation
The emission of energy by waves (including light) or particles.
radioimmunotherapy
A medical treatment that uses antibodies produced in a laboratory to deliver lethal radiation to target cells in the body.
replication
Reproduction or duplication.
sexually transmitted disease (STD)
A communicable disease transmitted by sexual intercourse or genital contact.
vaccine
A substance that contains antigenic components, either weakened, dead or synthetic, from an infectious organism which is used to produce active immunity against that organism.
virus
An ultramicroscopic infectious agent that replicates itself only within cells of living hosts.