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Sunday, October 28, 2007

HIV and Aids terminologies

UNAIDS has revised the acronyms once again, so now people living with HIV are called PLHIV, and young people living with HIV are implicitly called YPLHIV.Old acronyms were PLWHA, PLWA, PLWH, PWH and YPLWH, YLWH, YLWHA............It doesn't really matter at all, but I kind of like PLHIV because you can actually guess what PLHIV might refer to when you see it. Also, "with" is apreposition, so it shouldn't be included in the acronym. =)
In case you are interested, the attached document is actually quite good, and discusses some of the stigma that results from the terminology that hasbeen used in the past."PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIVAvoid the expression 'people living with HIV and AIDS' and the abbreviation PLWHA. With reference to those living with HIV, it is preferable to avoid certain terms: AIDS patient should only be used in amedical context (most of the time, a person with AIDS is not in the role of patient); the term AIDS victim or AIDS sufferer implies that the individual in question is powerless, with no control over his or her life.
It is preferable to use 'people living with HIV' (PLHIV), since this reflects the fact that an infected person may continue to live well and productively for many years. Referring to people living with HIV as innocent victims (which is often used to describe HIV-positive children or people who have acquired HIV medically) wrongly implies that peopleinfected in other ways are somehow deserving of punishment. It is preferable to use 'people living with HIV', or 'children with HIV'.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" -how inaccurate!! It's alarming to see what ideas and prejudices are subtly conveyed through words.

Slightly off topic, but terms such as 'less developed' and 'third world' need to be critically analyzed, too. Edward Said's ideas raised in his work, Orientalism -the way the 'West' depicts the 'East' still lives on in our language.