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close this bookAdolescent Sexuality and the HIV Epidemic (UNDP, 1999, 24 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPREFACE
Open this folder and view contents1. INTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contents2. UNEQUAL LIFE CHANCES & HIV INFECTION
Open this folder and view contents4. HIV-RELATED WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
View the document5. PROGRAM IMPLICATIONS
View the document6. PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS
View the documentReferences, UNDP's HIV-related Language Policy and Publications

References, UNDP's HIV-related Language Policy and Publications


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About the Authors

Kirn Rivers is a senior research officer within the Thomas Coram Research Unit at the Institute of Education, University of London. She has extensive international experience working in the fields of sexual and reproductive health.

Peter Aggleton is Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit. He is editor of the Social Aspects of AIDS series of books published by UCL Press/Taylor and Francis, and of the journal 'Culture, Health and Sexuality. He has worked internationally in HIV-related promotion for nearly fifteen years. All correspondence to Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27-28 Woburn Square, London, WC1H OAA, UK.

About UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme is the UN's largest source of grant for development cooperation. Its funding is from voluntary contributions of Member States of the United Nations and affiliated agencies. A network of 132 country offices - and programmes in more than 170 countries and territories - helps people to help themselves. In each of these countries, the UNDP Resident Representative normally also serves as the Resident Coordinator of operational activities for development of the United Nations system as a whole. This can include humanitarian as well as development assistance.

UNDP's main priority is poverty eradication. Its work also focuses on the closely linked goals of environmental regeneration, the creation of sustainable livelihoods, and the empowerment of women. Programmes for good governance and peace building create a climate for progress in these areas. Country and regional programmes draw on the expertise of developing country nationals and non-governmental organisations, the specialised agencies of the UN system and research institutes. Seventy-five per cent of all UNDP-supported projects are implemented by local organisations.

Ninety per cent of UNDP's core programme is focused on 66 countries that are home to 90 per cent of the world's extremely poor. UNDP is a hands-on organisation with 85 per cent of its staff in the countries that it supports.

United Nations Development Programme

HIV and Development Programme

The UNDP HIV and Development programme draws together UNDP's headquarters, regional and country programming and other initiatives designed to strengthen the capacity of nations and organizations to respond effectively to the HIV epidemic. The activities covered in this programme include:

· establishing priority needs through consultations with those directly affected by the epidemic;

· national capacity building through field missions, consultations and HIV and development workshops on multisectoral programme development and coordination;

· development of gender-sensitive and community-based approaches through pilot programmes, consultations, workshops and publications;

· multisectoral policy development and advocacy through intercountry consultations, colloquia, the establishment of regional networks (legal, economic, for example), publications and technical assistance;

· programme development through workshops and facilitated study tours which explore innovative ways of increasing and measuring programme effectiveness and sustainability;

· mainstreaming HIV in key programming areas, for example, in village self-help schemes, food security systems, regional planning approaches, etc., through studies, workshops, training and technical assistance;

· establishing operational research priorities relevant to effective and sustainable programme and policy development and evaluation through colloquia, commissioned reviews and consultations; and

· mobilising and coordinating the response of the UN system and other players at the national level to maximise the effectiveness of their support for the national response to the epidemic.

The work of the UNDP HIV and Development programme is coordinated within the UN system by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The HIV and Development Programme was established by the UNDP Governing Council and its mandate is contained in its Policy Framework and Guiding Principles (DP/I 991/57). UNDP works in close collaboration with UNAIDS and other multilateral and bilateral agencies, national governments, non-governmental and community based organizations, and academic and private sector institutions to contribute towards an effective, sustainable and coordinated response to the HIV epidemic.


Language and the images it evokes shape and influence behaviour and attitudes. The words used locate the speaker with respect to others, distancing or including them, setting up relations of authority or of partnership, and affect the listeners in particular ways, empowering or disempowering, estranging or persuading, and so on. The use of language is an ethical and a programmatic issue.

UNDP has adopted the following principles to guide its HIV-related language.

Language should be inclusive and not create and reinforce a Them/Us mentality or approach. For example, a term like "intervention" places the speaker outside of the group of people for or with whom he or she is working. Words like "control" set up a particular type of distancing relationship between the speaker and the listeners. Care should be taken with the use of the pronouns "they", "you", "them", etc.

It is better if the vocabulary used is drawn from the vocabulary of peace and human development rather than from the vocabulary of war. For example, synonyms could be found for words like "campaign", "control", "surveillance", etc.

Descriptive terms used should be those preferred or chosen by persons described. For example, "sex workers" is often the term preferred by those concerned rather than "prostitutes"; "people living with HIV" or "people living with AIDS" are preferred by infected persons rather than "victims".

Language should be value neutral, gender sensitive and should be empowering rather than disempowering. Terms such as "promiscuous", "drug abuse" and all derogatory terms alienate rather than create the trust and respect required. Terms such as "victim" or "sufferer" suggest powerlessness; "haemophiliac" or "AIDS patient" identify a human being by their medical condition alone. "Injecting drug users" is used rather than "drug addicts". Terms such as "living with HIV" recognize that an infected person may continue to live well and productively for many years.

Terms used need to be strictly accurate. For example, "AIDS" describes the conditions and illnesses associated with significant progression of infection. Otherwise, the terms used include "HIV infection", "HIV epidemic", "HIV-related illnesses or conditions", etc. "Situation of risk" is used rather than "risk behaviour" or "risk groups", since the same act may be safe in one situation and unsafe in another. The safety of the situation has to be continually assessed.

The terms used need to be adequate to inform accurately. For example, the modes of HIV transmission and the options for protective behaviour change need to be explicitly stated so as to be clearly understood within all cultural contexts.

The appropriate use of language respects the dignity and rights of all concerned, avoids contributing to the stigmatisation and rejection of the affected and assists in creating the social changes required to overcome the epidemic.


Available online at

Gender and the HIV Epidemic

Adolescent Sexuality, Gender and the HIV Epidemic, 1998

Dying of Sadness: Gender, Sexual Violence and the HIV Epidemic, 1998

Men and the HIV Epidemic, 1998

Issues Papers

Socio-Economic Causes and consequences of the HIV Epidemic in Southern Africa: A case study of Namibia, 1998

The HIV Epidemic and Sustainable Human Development, 1998

The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Children, Families and Communities: Risks and Realities of Childhood During the HIV Epidemic, 1998

Strengthening National Capacity for HIV/AIDS Strategic Planning, 1998

Poverty and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, 1998

HIV Prevention in Multicultural Contexts, 1996

The Impact of HIV on Families and Children, 1996

The Vulnerability of Women: Is This Useful Construct for Policy and Programming, 1996

HIV and the Challenges Facing Men, 1995

Development Practice and the HIV Epidemic, 1995

Living With HIV, 1994

Children in Families Affected by the HIV Epidemic: A Strategic Approach, 1993

Approaching the HIV Epidemic, 1993

Young Women: Silence, Susceptibility and the HIV Epidemic, 1992

The HIV Epidemic and Development; The Unfolding of the Epidemic, 1992

The Economic Impact of the HIV Epidemic, 1992

Gender, Knowledge and Responsibility, 1992

People Living with HIV: The Law, Ethics and Discrimination, 1992

Sharing the Challenge of the HIV Epidemic: Building Partnerships, 1992

Female Genital Health and the Risk of HIV Transmission, 1991

Behaviour Change in Response to the HIV Epidemic: Some Analogies and Lessons from the Experience of Gay Communities, 1991

Women, the HIV Epidemic and Human Rights: A Tragic Imperative, 1991

The Role of the Law in HIV and AIDS Policy, 1991

Placing Women at the Centre of the Analysis, 1990

Study Papers

The Implications of HIV/AIDS for Rural Development Policy and Programming, 1998

From Single Parents to Child-Headed Households: The Case of Children Orphaned by AIDS in Kisumu and Siaya Districts in Kenya, 1998

Riding the Roller Coaster: Experiencing Transitions from HIV to AIDS, 1997

The Socio-Economic Impact of HIV and AIDS on Rural Families in Uganda, 1994

Wheeling and Dealing: HIV and Development on the Shan State Borders of Myanmar, 1994

The HIV Epidemic in Uganda: A Programme Approach, 1993

Books and Monographs

The Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AlDS in Africa, Summary Reports, Xth International Conference on HIV/AIDS and STDs in Africa, 1998

Development and the HIV Epidemic: A Forward Looking Evaluation of the Approach of the UNDP HIV and Development Programme, UNDP, 1996

HIV & AIDS: The Global Inter-Connection, UNDP, 1995. Published by Kumarian Press, Inc.