Our style guidance includes hundreds of terms spanning six main categories, and contains detailed definitions, related terms, and additional resources.
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Mpox (“em-pox”), or monkeypox, is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is related to smallpox. It is primarily transmitted from human to human through prolonged close physical contact, including sexual contact, though it is not currently categorized as a sexually transmitted infection. To refer to the populations seeing the largest numbers of mpox cases as of August 2022, some organizations suggest phrasing such as “men who have sex with men and those in their sexual networks,” which emphasizes behavior rather than identity. However, being as specific as possible about the population(s) being discussed may be helpful for clarity. Some scientists have criticized the name “monkeypox,” saying it is stigmatizing and has racist connotations; alternatives in use in some places beyond mpox include MPX, hMPX, and MPV. As with reporting on any disease or diagnosis, it’s important to keep people’s right to privacy in mind, and to consider whether disclosing someone’s diagnosis or vaccination status is truly necessary and relevant to coverage.
Deafness and hearing loss are common conditions. The phrase “d/Deaf” can describe both the condition of deafness and Deaf Culture. When writing about a person who is d/Deaf, it’s best to confirm which capitalization they prefer whenever possible; some may prefer the term Deaf person as opposed to “person who is deaf.” The term d/Deaf is inclusive of both the condition of deafness and Deaf Culture (a brief explanation on first reference may be helpful for general audiences). For a person who has partial hearing loss but is not d/Deaf, the term “hard of hearing” can be used.
A crisis pregnancy center (CPC) is an organization that advertises as a family planning center but is focused on anti-abortion efforts. Because these facilities have purposes different from centers that focus on reproductive issues and family planning without the intent to dissuade certain kinds of medical care (though they may advertise themselves similarly), the term “crisis pregnancy center” is not interchangeable with “reproductive health center” (a facility like Planned Parenthood or Whole Woman’s Health). Giving a brief explanation on first reference is helpful.
Abuse that takes place among people in a household or family unit. Domestic violence (often abbreviated as “DV” on social media) can also be called domestic abuse or family violence. A term like “battered women’s shelters” can be upsetting for women who have undergone physical abuse, and it may deter women who’ve undergone other kinds of abuse (sexual, financial, etc.) from seeking help. If relevant to your content, it may be helpful to include helpline numbers or links to resources (such as thehotline.org).
People with HIV or AIDS have long faced stigmas and discrimination. When describing a person with HIV or AIDS, “person with [HIV or AIDS],” “person living with [HIV or AIDS],” or “person who is HIV-positive” is straightforward; following the person’s preferred terminology whenever possible aligns your framing with their lived experience. Disclosing an HIV or AIDS status can have major repercussions for a person’s life. As with disclosing any health condition, it should be done only when relevant and necessary to coverage, and it’s important to confirm with someone whether they are comfortable having their status written about publicly.
Opportunity gap refers to the circumstances in which people are born over which they have no control (e.g., race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, zip code) that impact their opportunities in life. Using terms like “opportunity gap” instead of “achievement gap” can draw attention to the systemic disparities that underserved communities face, and shifts dialogue away from blaming children for their life circumstances.
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