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 guideline? Send it to us at and we'll post!

Located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh