©FIND/Shivram Manthena

Language matters

Language choices and terminology can impact health-seeking behaviour.

Thoughtful language can challenge stereotypes, help address perceptions of power, and open doors to discussion.

Language around diagnostic testing holds particular challenges. It is inaccurate to describe someone being tested as a “patient” until they have received a positive diagnosis and entered the care system. Prior to a diagnosis, it is not uncommon for people to be referred to as “suspects”.

We are taking a conscious approach to terminology around diagnostic testing, to help remove barriers, and enable and encourage access to care, launching a project to work with communities to create a short, open-access language guide to encourage more thoughtful and accurate communication around diagnostic testing.

This guide will be limited in scope to diagnostic testing and complement existing language guides that relate to particular diseases. It will be made freely available on the FIND website and promoted on FIND channels. It will also be actively distributed to communities and advocacy groups who may find it helpful.

Are you an advocate, a member of civil society or community, a passionate global health practitioner? Would you like to join the effort to develop the world’s first inclusive language guide specific to diagnostic testing?

Yes! I would like to be involved in developing an inclusive language guide for diagnostics

Participation is voluntary as the time commitment will be small: a maximum of 4 hours to participate in webinars and a survey between the end of August and mid-November.

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Diagnostics Day 2023

Check out our full agenda for Diagnostics Day and learn more about the WHA Resolution on diagnostics.