Formed in June 2007, the Community Advisory Board (CAB) is an initiative of the Center for Immunotherapy and Vaccinology (VIC), in collaboration with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) in Seattle, USA, one of the largest HIV vaccine research networks.
This committee is composed of a diverse group of volunteer members representing the local population.
The CAB has the following goals:
The CAB has adapted the HIV language guide for French-speaking Switzerland.
When health care providers or people in the research field refer to HIV, the terms used can contribute to or induce prejudice and/or ignorance. Conversely, the use of appropriate terminology allows for respectful treatment of the individuals involved and accurate treatment of ideas about HIV.
The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance on the use of empowering rather than stigmatizing language in the area of HIV. This guide is directly inspired by the one developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US. We contributed to the French translation of the latter and, with their agreement, we developed a specific guide for French-speaking Switzerland.
Since the publication of the empowerment manifesto "The Denver Principles" by ACT UP members and other HIV/AIDS activists in 1983, the words used have become a major focus in the fight against HIV-related stigma.
Many HIV and/or PLHIV advocacy groups and media outlets adopt slogans such as "language matters" and promote manuals for the use of empowering vocabulary, as do other organizations that advocate for other conditions and/or marginalized groups. Discussions about the choice of terms are common at events, conferences and discussion spaces. The use of empowering language remains an important goal for these organizations because the words used contribute to the reinforcement of stigma, which, as the literature indicates, contributes to the reinforcement of the HIV epidemic. While many health and social stigma factors are entrenched and systemic, there is an opportunity for health care staff and those working in research to adopt more appropriate language and thus contribute to the de-stigmatization of people affected by HIV and to lead by example.
For more information, the guide can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
HIV Language Guide French-speaking Switzerland (only in French)