Inclusive & Destigmatizing Language

YouthCO’s mission is to reduce the impact of HIV and Hep C stigma on youth in British Columbia. One of the tools we have to support this work is our inclusive language list. Inclusive language is one of the ways we approach providing relatable and relevant information to our peers. Using inclusive language is a way we put our values – including sex-positivity, anti-oppression, and inclusiveness – into action. Being excluded from he information that is provided to us impacts our health, our ability to make informed choices, and the ways we access information and support.

These guidelines are far from exhaustive: there are many, many words used within HIV, Hep C, sexual health, and harm reduction that reflect stigma, fear, and misinformation. We welcome feedback, suggestions, and additions anytime! YouthCO is also able to facilitate workshops to provide more information as to the ways this language can be stigmatizing, and relevant alternatives for specific settings!

We recognize the Native Youth Sexual Health Network for their teachings about the need for supportive language, not stigmatizing language, and this is the approach we use here.   

Other great language resources:

*Want us to list your inclusive language resource, or have feedback about our resource? Send it to us at info@youthco.org and we'll get in touch!

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website, in our programs, and in our resources to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!


YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!