Auntie Stella


Auntie Stella was produced by Training and Research Support Centre (Zimbabwe)
Box CY2720, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: 263-4-795124

Difficult words


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a disease caused by HIV. AIDS is when the body-protectors (immune system) are so weak that the person cannot fight illness. AIDS is passed on through sex, infected blood, or from mother to baby.


When you choose not to have sex, take drugs or drink alcohol.


When you are dependent on drugs or alcohol; you can't live without them.


Group or individual action intended to change policies, attitudes or practices.


Antiretrovirals - drugs that help slow down the effects of HIV. They can only be taken after a lot of tests and with professional guidance from a doctor.


Being able to stand up for yourself and your own beliefs.


A serious disease in which cells change in an abnormal way, causing growths. Cancer can affect women's breasts, the cervix, the stomach or other parts of the body.


The opening of the womb, at the back of the vagina.


A traditional custom aimed at socialising young girls to prepare them for adult life. It is sometimes abused by older male relatives who touch the girl's private parts. This is not part of the tradition.


When the woman's egg is fertilised by a man's sperm and she becomes pregnant.


A feeling of deep sadness and hopelessness which can cause loss of appetite and difficulty with sleeping. Severe depression requires medical help.


When a man reaches his peak of sexual pleasure and his semen comes out.


When a man becomes sexually excited and his penis gets hard.


(straight) A man or woman who is sexually attracted to someone of the opposite sex.


Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus. The virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens the body-protectors that normally fight diseases. You can have the virus for years without being sick, but still give it to other people through sex, infected blood, or from mother to baby.


(gay or lesbian) A man or woman who is sexually attracted to someone of the same sex.


Chemicals made by the body that tell it when and how to grow and develop.


A sickness caused by germs, bacteria or viruses.


Another name for sex.



When parents pledge, or give, their daughter to an older man for marriage without her choice, usually to relieve economic burdens.


Money or goods a man pays to the family of his future wife to formalise the marriage.


To stroke or rub your own private parts for sexual pleasure.


Also known as dope or grass, this is the drug, marijuana, which is illegal in Zimbabwe.


A woman's monthly bleeding, also known as her periods.

Menstrual cycle

The time between one monthly bleeding and the next - usually around 28 days.

Morning after pill

A special combination of contraceptive pills which can prevent pregnancy if taken not later than 72 hours after having unprotected sex.

Opportunistic infection

An illness commonly associated with HIV such as TB, pneumonia and oral thrush. These infections can be prevented or treated at clinics.


Also known as climax or coming. When the body reaches the highest moment of sexual pleasure and excitement.


Two small sacs (bags) on each side of a woman's womb. Ovaries produce eggs that join with a man's sperm to produce babies.


When an egg comes out of one of the ovaries in the middle of a woman's monthly cycle. A woman is most fertile (able to fall pregnant) when she is ovulating.

Pap smear

A test to check for early signs of cervical cancer. A tiny piece of skin is scraped from the cervix and examined.


When a man is the father of a particular child.


A man's sexual organ.


Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is a treatment given soon after you have been exposed to a disease, to prevent you from becoming infected. If a person is exposed to HIV, treatment must start within 72 hours after exposure.This is used in cases of rape, for example.


Someone who has many short-term sexual relationships by his or her own choice.


Also known as a commercial sex worker. Someone who has sex in exchange for money, goods or other favours, often because they have no other way of earning a living.


Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV. Also known as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT). Many clinics run programmes for pregnant women who are HIV positive aimed at reducing the risk of mother to child infection during pregnancy and at childbirth, through the use of specific drugs.


The time when girls start turning into women and boys into men. Various body and emotional changes occur, such as the start of a girl's monthly bleeding.


When a man over the age of 14 years has sex with a female without her consent.

Safe sex

Sex within a mutually faithful single-partner relationship where neither person is infected.

Safer sex

Taking measures to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases by avoiding direct contact with your partner's genitals, for example using a condom or practising mutual masturbation.


Believing in your own worth, value and abilities.


The liquid containing a man's sperm, released from his penis when he has an orgasm.

Sexual abuse

When a man or a woman uses force to get sexual pleasure or unwanted sexual contact.

Sexual assault

Also called indecent assault. When a man or woman touches someone in a sexual way against their will.


Tiny organisms in a man's semen that can fertilise a woman's egg.

Statutory rape

Sex with a girl or boy under the age of 16, with or without consent.


Sexually Transmitted Infection - an infection that is passed to another person during sex, for example, HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea.


The passage between a woman's outside private parts and her womb. The place where the penis goes during sex.


Voluntary Counselling and Testing is when someone decides to have an HIV test, even if he or she is not sick.


A person who has never had sex.

Wet dream

When semen comes out of a man's penis while he is asleep. It often happens to boys and is a sign that they have reached puberty and are now sexually mature.


Also called the uterus. A small bag-like part inside a woman's body where a baby grows before it is born.