HIV Language Guide

HIV Language Guide


Our HIV Language Guide offers alternatives to stigmatising words and phrases which should be avoided.          


Language is powerful.


It can affect the way we see other people and the way people view themselves.


While HIV is a long-term, manageable medical condition like many others, it attracts stigma and discrimination like no other.


Words and phrases used about HIV and people living with HIV can carry hugely negative connotations. Describing people living with HIV as ‘suffering’, for example, reinforces outdated stereotypes and casts the person as a helpless victim –which is stigmatising in itself.


Language has the power to include or exclude.


Some of the language used about HIV and about people living with HIV implies blame and sets people living with HIV apart and different – making it about ‘them’ and not ‘us’.  


Language can reinforce stigmatising attitudes, or it can help bring about a world in which people living with HIV are no longer the subject of negative attitudes, stereotypes and discrimination.


Read the HIV Language Guide.


George House Trust’s vision is a world where HIV holds nobody back. We will get there sooner if we all do our best to ensure we use respectful and inclusive language when talking about HIV and people living with HIV.


Thank you to the community of people living with HIV who shaped and contributed to this guide, and helped develop the alternatives to stigmatising language.

Thank you to Manchester City Council for supporting the guide's development and production.


January 11th 2022

Tuesday, 11 January, 2022

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