HIV/AIDS is not the killer it once was in the 1980s. Or is it?
News about the virus now isn't as widespread as it was in the 1980s, when details and deaths were splashed on front pages everywhere.
Meanwhile, drugs like Truvada are slowing its spread, and those with HIV are able to manage the virus through treatments.
However, what has changed is the way we talk about HIV/AIDS.
"Gay disease," "unclean" and "safe sex" are some of the phrases KPCC listeners recall hearing in the 1980s.
Amity Grimes was a newly minted nurse in 1985, and she remembered hospital staff saying, "Only members of the '4H club' were likely to get aids: Homosexuals, Hemophiliacs, Haitians, and Heroin addicts."
"I think there was a little bit of blaming," says Grimes.
"We had a lot of stigmatizing language around infected, contaminated, dying of AIDS," says Diane Anderson-Minshall, editor-in-chief of Plus magazine.
There are many phrases she says the public and journalists should and should not use when talking about HIV/AIDS.
- "HIV stage 3," not AIDS - Some governmental and medical organizations now use this phrase instead of AIDS because they are the same thing: Reaching HIV stage 3 leads to the set of symptoms known as AIDS. "The word AIDS is associated with skeletal, white often-gay men who are dying of a disease," says Anderson-Minshall. "HIV is a chronic manageable condition like diabetes."
- Not "full-blown AIDS" - "You either have AIDS or you don't," says Anderson-Minshall.
- "Safer sex," not safe sex - "Safe sex" may imply complete safety. However, no protection method is 100 percent effective against all STIs.
- Not "unprotected sex" - The term is no longer used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will instead say "condomless sex." The old term suggested that having sex without a condom was unprotected, when in reality there are many ways to prevent STIs.