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Remove 'AIDS Virus' Language [message #1688] Thu, 27 March 2014 16:42 Go to previous message
alstangl is currently offline  alstangl
Messages: 3
Registered: March 2014
Location: Washington, DC

ICRW, on behalf of the Global Stigma and Discrimination Indicator Working Group (GSDIWG), recommends the replacement of the 'AIDS virus' phrase with 'HIV' in all questions where it currently appears in the HIV module, including questions: 902, 903, 904, 905, 906, 907, 914, 915, 916, 921, 922, 924, 926 and 930.

Rationale for change: Technically, AIDS is not a virus, HIV is. Thus, using the terminology 'AIDS virus' is technically incorrect and could foster confusion and misunderstanding of the difference between HIV and AIDS, resulting in poor quality data. In addition, the term 'AIDS virus' is stigmatizing, as it infers that people living with HIV will all progress to AIDS. The 'AIDS virus' language can also foster stigma by directly linking HIV and AIDS in respondent's minds. Given the negative association of AIDS with a long, debilitating death, the term often inspires fear, which is a key driver of stigma towards people living with HIV. In 2011, UNAIDS recommended that HIV and AIDS not be linked directly and that the term most specific and appropriate to a given situation be used in its Terminology Guidelines (See: s/document/2011/20111009_UNAIDS_Terminology_Guidelines_Midte rmAdditions_en.pdf) . Moving forward, the outdated 'AIDS virus' terminology should be replaced with 'HIV'.

Anne Stangl
Senior Behavioral Scientist
International Center for Research on Women
Washington, DC
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