BASHH formally endorses the People First Charter

25th August 2022

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) is delighted to announce its endorsement of the People First Charter, which seeks to promote person first HIV & Sexual Health language and help prevent stigma and discrimination for people living with or at risk of HIV.

Launched in July 2021 during the Berlin International AIDS Society Conference and led by BHIVA Chair Dr Laura Waters, the Charter sets out a number of recommended terminology changes to encourage the use of People First language in the context of HIV.

The Charter also sets out 4 clear commitments to support the the ambition of ensuring that policymakers, researchers, conferences, journals, clinicians and allied care providers follow the terminology guidelines and other examples of best practice. These commitments are:

  1. Continuously updating our terminology guidance 
  2. Calling for materials related to HIV & STIs to use people first terminology 
  3. Asking reviewers of scientific abstracts & papers to ensure appropriate terminology is used 
  4. Seeking Charter endorsement from individuals & organisations involved in HIV/STI research & care 

People with or at risk of HIV still face stigma and discrimination and the wrong use of language can lead to further stigma and marginalisation. It is important to recognise that the use of certain language can be triggering and may prevent some from receiving care and treatment.

As the World Health Organisation states: "Positive, inclusive language creates new opportunities for advancement and collaboration, instead of exclusively focusing on ending existing problems.” Our language should therefore match our goals: to ensure all people living with HIV or at risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections are supported to enjoy the highest attainable standards of health, as is their fundamental human right. 

BASHH encourages all sexual health and HIV organisations to promote the People First Charter to ensure people living with HIV and AIDs do not face further discrimination.

For more information on the People First Charter, please click here.

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