A New Name for HIV

For too many, “HIV” means stigma. These three letters carry more than four decades of shame, prejudice and false beliefs. For those living with HIV and those at risk of infection, this stigma acts as a barrier to knowledge, protection, and health care. It stifles conversation surrounding the virus and creates a silence that allows HIV to spread far more easily than it should.

Rename the virus. End the stigma. Stop the Epidemic of the Mind. 

How it Works

By proposing a new name for HIV, you’re helping to break a stigma that’s been attached to the virus for over four decades. 

Once you’ve come up with a new name for HIV, you can enter your submission alongside a short description of why you think HIV should be renamed. Remember to look over the guidelines below to make sure your name is in line with the standards set out by the WHO. 

Once your submission has been reviewed, it will be posted on the website. 


For a new name to be selected it must be appropriate. Any derogatory or otherwise harmful names will not be considered.   

As outlined by the WHO guidelines, a disease’s name should be simple, descriptive and avoid any negative impact. Names should also be kept to a minimum length and made as simple to pronounce as possible. A disease with a long name should have a thought-out acronym, as that is what it will most likely be referred to in everyday conversation.  

A complete list of the WHO guidelines can be found here.  Add your name to show your support. To go a step further, download the open letter, sign it, and share it online. 



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Support the Open Letter

Read it. Sign it. Share it. 

Our open letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, calls for a new name for HIV. Show your support by sharing and signing the letter.