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UN aids Terminology Guide

UN aids Terminology Guide

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UN aids Terminology Guide
UN aids Terminology Guide

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Published by: NationalYouthNetwork on Feb 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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UNAIDSTerminology Guidelines (January 2011)
1. Summary of important preferred terminology and errors to avoid 22. Background for 
commonly used words and expressions 43. List of organizations, acronyms, and abbreviations 254. Further resources 31
These guidelines to UNAIDS’ preferred terminology have been developed for useby staff members, colleagues in the Programme’s 10 Cosponsoringorganizations, and other partners working in the global response to HIV.Language shapes beliefs and may influence behaviours. Considered use of appropriate language has the power to strengthen the global response to theepidemic. UNAIDS is pleased to make these guidelines to preferred terminologyfreely available. It is a living, evolving document that is reviewed on a regular basis. Comments and suggestions for additions, deletions, or modificationsshould be sent to terminology@unaids.org.The boxed list (summary of preferred terminology) overleaf highlights the mostimportant points that we recommend users follow.These guidelines may be freely copied and reproduced, provided that it is notdone so for commercial gain and the source is mentioned.
Summary of preferred terminology and errors to avoid
Past terminology
Preferred terminology
Use the term that is most specific and appropriate in the context
toavoid confusion between HIV (a virus) and AIDS (a clinical syndrome).Examples include ‘people living with HIV’, ‘HIV prevalence’, ‘HIV prevention’,‘HIV testing and counselling’, ‘HIV-related disease’, ‘AIDS diagnosis’,‘children orphaned by AIDS’, ‘AIDS response’, ‘national AIDS programme’,‘AIDS service organization’. Both ‘HIV epidemic’ and ‘AIDS epidemic’ areacceptable, but ‘HIV epidemic’ is a more inclusive term.
 AIDS virusThere is no AIDS virus. The virus that causes AIDS is the humanimmunodeficiency virus
. Please note that ‘virus’ in the phrase ‘HIVvirus’ is redundant. Use ‘HIV’. AIDS-infectedNo one is infected with AIDS; AIDS is not an infectious agent. AIDSdescribes a syndrome of opportunistic infections and diseases that candevelop as immunosuppression deepens along the continuum of HIVinfection from acute infection to death. Avoid ‘HIV-infected’ in favour of 
 person living with HIV
HIV-positive person
(if serostatus is known). AIDS testThere is no test for AIDS. Use
HIV antibody test
. For earlyinfant diagnosis, HIV antigen tests are used. AIDS victimUse
person living with HIV
. The word ‘victim’ is disempowering. Use AIDSonly when referring to a person with a clinical diagnosis of AIDS. AIDS patientUse the term ‘patient’
only when referring to a clinical setting. Use
patientwith HIV-related illness (or disease)
as this covers the full spectrum of HIV-associated clinical conditions.
Risk of AIDSUse
risk of HIV infection
risk of exposure to HIV
’ (unless referring tobehaviours or conditions that increase the risk of disease progression in anHIV-positive person)
High(er) risk groups;vulnerable groupsUse
key populations at higher risk
(both key to the epidemic’s dynamicsand key to the response). Key populations are distinct from vulnerablepopulations, which are subject to societal pressures or social circumstancesthat may make them more vulnerable to exposure to infections, including HIV.Commercial sex workThis says the same thing twice in different words. Preferred terms are
sexwork, commercial sex,
or the
sale of sexual services.
Prostitute or prostitutionThese words should not be used. For adults, use terms such as
sex work,sex worker, commercial sex, transactional sex,
or the
sale of sexualservices.
When children are involved, refer to
commercial sexualexploitation of children.
 Intravenous drug user Drugs are injected subcutaneously, intramuscularly, or intravenously. Use
 person who injects drugs.
Although ‘injecting drug user’ is still used, it ispreferable to place emphasis on the person.Sharing (needles,syringes)
 Avoid ‘sharing’ in favour of 
use of non-sterile
injecting equipment if referringto risk of HIV exposure or 
use of 
injecting equipment if theequipment is known to contain HIV or if HIV transmission occurred after itsuse.Fight against AIDSUse
response to AIDS
or AIDS response.Evidence-basedUse
in recognition of other inputs to decision-making.HIV prevalence ratesUse
HIV prevalence.
The word ‘rates’ implies the passage of time andshould not be used in reference to prevalence. It can be used when referringto incidence over time e.g. 6 per 100 person-years.

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