The People First Charter was launched on 20th July 2021, during the Berlin IAS Conference, to promote person first language in the field of HIV.
Language matters. People living with HIV experience stigma & discrimination. The wrong language perpetuates stigma & marginalises people.
As the World Health Organisation states:
"Positive, inclusive language creates new opportunities for advancement and collaboration, instead of exclusively focusing on ending existing problems".
Let's ensure our language matches our goals: to ensure all people living with HIV are supported to enjoy the highest attainable standards of health, as is their fundamental human right.
We aim to ensure all policy makers, researchers, conferences, journals, clinicians & allied care providers follow our clear terminology guidelines & other examples of best practice through:
Further ahead we hope to collaborate other organisations outside the HIV field to promote People First language throughout health care, science, & beyond!
Ultimately we hope all communities will use person first language, but first we must embed consistent use of appropriate terminology within our own sector. First our own field...then the world!
Sign up to learn more about how to commit to the People First Charter when it launches & help us ensure promote the use of the right words in the right way.
If you hear or see language that is not people first, please encourage the use of People First terminology. Please correct people kindly & gently. We ALL get it wrong sometimes and it takes TIME to embed change.
People are people, not conditions. We should avoid terms like 'HIV-infected' and use 'people living with HIV', use 'person with diabetes, not 'a diabetic'.
The field of HIV is also rife with terms associated with stigma & blame: 'patients failing treatment', 'became infected' and 'serodiscordant' are examples.