ACB or African, Caribbean and Black

ACB or African, Caribbean and Black is a Canadian term used to identify common heritage, culture and social concerns of the range of people of African descent living within Canadian borders, including immigrants directly from the African continent, immigrants from the Caribbean islands, and descendants of American slavery.


Allies refers to individual supporters who are not, themselves, women living with HIV but who have shown substantial and reliable support for women living with HIV. Allies can be called on to assist ICW-NA in promoting its causes and fulfilling its mission. Distinct from a supporter, which is a term one can assign to oneself, ally is a designation that is bestowed by the community of women living with HIV, rather than by the ally themselves.


Black (always capitalized: Black, not black) is used most frequently to refer to American people of African descent, usually descendants of slavery. This term is used because/when it is preferred by the people it describes, signaling a unique subculture that is distinct from the term African American (which can refer also to immigrants from the African continent). ICW-NA may also use the term African American to refer to Americans of African descent, when this term is preferred by the people it is describing.


Caregivers refers to people who devote their time to the care of others, including of children, aged adults, and loved ones needing care during temporary or extended illness. ICW-NA views this role of caregiver as a substantial responsibility and does not take for granted the resources (time, financial, and emotional) required to care for others.


Diversity refers to a range of different people being represented. In the case of ICW-NA, this term primarily refers to the range of different women who are living with HIV, and ICW-NA’s dedication to representing them regardless of their similarities or difference to each other.


Feminism is the concept of advocacy for women’s personal, political, economic, social and rights on the basis of equality of sexes. ICW-NA is founded on feminist principles, which make this effort to achieve equality central to its mission.

Gender Identity

Gender identity refers one’s personal experience of their own gender. ICW-NA recognizes that gender identity is independent from, and does not necessarily correspond with, sex assigned at birth.


Gender-conformity/conforming refers to whether a person’s gender identity and presentation conform with, or match, their sex assigned at birth and what social norms expect from that sex. ICW-NA recognizes that this concept of conformity can be harmful and is based on binary gender norms that do not reflect real experiences of diversity of gender and sex. This term is used primarily to highlight how ICW-NA does not limit or set boundaries on gender conformity, even if society does.

Indigenous people

Indigenous people refers to the native inhabitants of North American land, who lived there before European settlers arrived. In the United States, these groups are often referred to as Native Americans; in Canada, some indigenous people are part of and known by the term First Nations. While ICW-NA recognizes that some subgroups of indigenous people go by other preferred terms, it also recognizes and commits never to use the harmful and pejorative term Indian to refer to indigenous people.


Intersectionality refers to the interconnected nature of social categories including race, socioeconomic class, gender and status as defined by many other life experiences, as they apply to a given individual or group, and create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. ICW-NA recognizes that many of its members, as women living with HIV, have intersectional experiences that mean their experience cannot be defined as belonging to a single group, affected by a single issue.


Member refers to an individual woman living with HIV who has opted into active participation with ICW-NA and whose interests are represented by ICW-NA.

Member Organizations

Member organizations refers to organizations or groups of women living with HIV who have opted to be associated with ICW-NA and whose interests, experiences and positions are represented by ICW-NA.


Newcomers/immigrants refers to people who have immigrated from their home country to a new country, in this case to Canada or the United States.

Non-binary (gender)

Non-binary (gender) refers to a person who chooses not to identify as a woman or a man, but as a third gender or not to associate with any gender at all.

Partners (of ICW-NA)

Partners [of ICW-NA] refers to organizations that are not members of ICW-NA, but with whom ICW-NA works closely to achieve common goals.

People/women deprived of liberty

People/women deprived of liberty refers to people who are incarcerated, in jails, prisons or other detention facilities, and who experience limited liberty and rights as a result.

People of differing abilities/living with disability

People of differing abilities/living with disability refers to people who have functional limitations that interfere with their ability — for example, to walk, lift, hear, see, or learn. ICW-NA commits to using people-first language. It does not use outdated and harmful terms including handicapped, disabled people, the disabled, etc.

People (women) who use/inject drugs

People (women) who use/inject drugs refers to people who consume legal or illegal narcotics. To recognize that people consume drugs for many different reasons, and to support people’s autonomy to do what they wish with their own bodies, ICW-NA does not use the stigmatizing term drug addict, and prefers people-first language instead of the term drug user.


Race refers to a manufactured concept of differences between people of different skin colors and ethnic backgrounds. This concept is recognized by ICW-NA not because of its scientific validity (of which there is none) but because of the tremendous harm that it has caused to non-white people/people who are not of Western European descent.


Remote refers to areas located far outside of centers of human development. For ICW-NA, this term is primarily used to refer to areas of Canada, which may require alternative means of transportation to reach.


Rural refers to areas located outside of cities or larger towns. For ICW-NA, this relates to women who live outside of urban areas where they may have limited access to infrastructure and lower population density may mean they are isolated from other women living with HIV or from HIV-related services.

Sex worker or women engaged in sex work

Sex worker or women engaged in sex work refers to a woman who engages in sex in exchange for resources, which may be monetary, material, or other. ICW-NA does not use the term prostitute, and recognizes and respects when some women choose to use other terms to describe their engagement in the sex trade.

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted. This is generally categorized by the terms heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.

Substance use

Substance use refers to the use or consumption of drugs or alcohol, including both legal or illegal. This term is important in the context of the War on Drugs, which disproportionately affects women and people of color, and ICW-NA does not support the withholding of rights on the basis of use of drugs. ICW-NA does not use the stigmatizing term drug addict, and when talking about substance use prefers to name behaviors and/or use people-first language.


Supporters refers to people and organizations who provide support to ICW-NA in terms of resources (i.e. donors), or application of their time and/or influence to promote the achievement of ICW-NA’s mission.

Transgender person

Transgender person refers to a person who identifies as a gender that does not match their physical sex assigned to them at birth. ICW-NA utilizes this term when it is preferred by the person it is describing, but notes that some women who fit this description also prefer to simply identify as women. ICW-NA does not use the term ‘a transgender’ without the term person (or man or woman) following it, recognizing such use of the term is stigmatizing and pejorative.

Trans experience (women of trans experience)

Trans experience (women of trans experience) refers to the life experience, process and/or journey of transitioning from one gender presentation to another. Like the term transgender person/woman, ICW-NA recognizes that this term may be preferred by some women, and commits to using this term when preferred by the person it is describing.


Urban refers to environments that are significantly developed with infrastructure and population density, including cities and some large towns. These are often environments which are home to larger populations of people living with HIV, and where a range of HIV-related services are more readily available.


Woman refers to any adult human who identifies herself as a woman. ICW-NA is unapologetically inclusive of women in all their diversity, regardless of cis- or trans-gender or any other factors which may be set by outside parties.


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