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close this bookPoverty and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNDP, 1998, 11 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsPOVERTY AS PROCESS
View the documentCONCLUSIONS
View the documentBIOGRAPHICAL NOTE


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

Issues Papers

· 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

· 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/AIDS 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

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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/1991/57). 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.