FOR RELEASE: December 18, 2017
Contact: Carole Treston, Executive Director
ANAC Expresses Concerns About Reports of CDC Language Restrictions
Washington, D.C.: The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) is extremely concerned about news reports of recent discussions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding allowable or suggested language. This has been variously described as a purported ban on seven words or as a strategy to make budget proposals more likely to pass a conservative OMB and Congress. The words are: transgender, fetus, vulnerable, diversity, science-based, evidence-based and entitlement.
ANAC Board President
Jeffrey Kwong, DNP, MPH, ANP-BC, FAANP remarked,
"Most alarming is the advice to refrain from the words evidence- or science-based. Evidence-based practice is at the center of safe and effective patient care. We have witnessed tremendous advances in HIV care and treatment and patient outcomes due to the science of clinical research. We must not allow the threat of politicization of science to interfere with this advancement."
Regardless of the intent, ANAC is alarmed that a list of banned words or a suggestion of words to avoid is not merely word choices but further creep of ideology over science and facts that is a disturbing hallmark of this current Administration and Congress.
"We as nurses know that words matter," ANAC Executive Director, Carole Treston, RN, MPH ACRN, FAAN stated. "The word 'diversity' signals a concern and inclusion for all Americans, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. Excluding the word 'transgender' from our messaging denies a population most at risk for health disparities, including higher HIV rates. Replacing the word 'fetus' with 'unborn child' is not only scientifically inaccurate, it is a thinly veiled threat to women's reproductive rights. And avoiding the use of 'vulnerable' populations lessens the ability to define and plan for populations most at risk in an emergency or epidemic, who are often the poor."
As healthcare providers engaged in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, ANAC members have witnessed the deleterious effect of policies driven by fear instead of evidence and shaped by beliefs rather than science. it is imperative that clinicians, researchers and other scientists stand together to resist any effort to stifle science and progress.
"We must not allow the current political climate to create an environment that intentionally or inadvertently repeats the mistakes of the past," Treston said.