Here are some terms and acronyms that you may come across on our website.

We have provided a short explanation of these terms to help the reader understand the context of these terms. Many of these are complex and our list is not complete. We have included this list to be transparent in the ongoing discussions we have at CAAN.

Like everything on our site, this is a living page and we will continue to update it on our learning journey.

You can also download and fill out your own Jargon Busting Fact Sheet created by the AHA Centre team.


The terms Aboriginal and Indigenous will be used interchangeably to be inclusive of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada. This reflects on-going community debate pertaining to issues surrounding identity and the language relevant to our history, fiduciary relationships and International ties.


Black, Indigenous and People of Colour


The concept Capacity Bridging is put forward by the AHA Centre 2.0 where a term familiar to Community-Based Research (CBR)—Capacity Building—is nuanced to better suit an Indigenous context. Capacity Bridging builds upon ideas that are important to Indigenous Peoples, such as reciprocity, relationality, and relational accountability (Wilson 2008) and engaging ‘in a good way’ (AHA Centre 2016). In research, the concepts of Ethical Space (Ermine 2007) and Two-eyed Seeing (Bartlett, Marshall, and Marshall 2012) are also included.

Cis gender

Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

Community-based Research (CBR)

Community-based Research (CBR) is research that is conducted by the community, for the community. Its collaborative framework foregrounds Indigenous knowledges and a commitment to community involvement, relevance and benefit. CBR is methodologically rigorous and ethically sound, while ensuring that all contributing voices are heard and valued equally.

Etuaptmumk: Two-Eyed Seeing

Etuaptmumk, or  Two-Eyed Seeing refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing while seeing from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing. When we learn to see in this way, we use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all. For more information on Two-Eyed Seeing, please go here.

Gender diverse

Relating to a person whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to socially defined male or female gender norms.


Greater Involvement of Peoples [or person] Living with HIV/AIDS principle

(HIV) Olders

HIV Olders are Indigenous people living with HIV and AIDS (IPHAs) who have lived long term with HIV, and are considered knowledge holders who have wisdom and experience to support HIV wellness for other IPHAs. HIV Olders understand how sharing cultural teachings can be a positive action that helps to support managing the day-to-day needs of living with HIV. They are knowledge holders of HIV history.


A range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosecuality or people who are identified or perceived as being gay, lesbian, bixesual, Two Spirit or transgendered.

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ)

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) is a term used to describe Inuit epistemology of the Indigenous knowledge of the Inuit. The term translates directly as ‘that which Inuit have always known to be true’. Like other Indigenous knowledge systems, IQ is recognized to be a unified system of beliefs and knowledge characteristic of the Inuit culture.


Indigenous Person living with HIV or AIDS


Indigenous Person living with Hepatitis C


Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Doing


Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS Principle, evolved from GIPA


Most people – including most transgender people – are either male or female. But some people don’t neatly fit into the categories of “man” or “woman,” or “male” or “female.” For example, some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female. Some people don’t identify with any gender. Some people’s gender changes over time. For more information, please visit: National Centre for Transgender Equality.


The First Nations Principles of ownership, control, access and possession—more commonly known as OCAP®—assert that First Nations have control over data collection processes, and that they own and control how this information can be used. For more information on OCAP® please visit the First Nations Information Governance Centre.


Someone who is similar to you in age, interests, background etc. In the context of HIV, for example, the use of the word ‘Peer’ is synonymous with being HIV+. We see this often with terms like PRA (Peer Research Assistant/Associate). Even though the word HIV is not used in the term, a common assumption is that a PRA is someone who is living with HIV.


PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.

Safe consumption site (SCS)

Safe consumption sites are spaces where a person may safely use drugs. There are on-site supports, such as nurses and counsellors, and assistance is available in the case of an overdose. A safe injection site is a space to safely inject drugs.


Sexually-transmitted blood borne infection


A set of linked health problems involving two or more conditions that act together to contribute to excess burden of disease. Syndemics occur when health-related problems cluster by person, place or time.

Syndemics occur when health-related problems cluster by person, place, or time. For example, the SAVA syndemic is comprised of substance abuse violence, and AIDS, three conditions that disproportionately afflict those living in poverty in US cities. To prevent a syndemic, one must prevent or control not only each affliction but also the forces that tie those afflictions together. From syn-, together + (epi)-demic.


Someone whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.


A range of negative attitudes and feelings toward people who identify as transsexual or transgender.

Turtle Island

Turtle Island refers to the continent of North America. The name comes from various Indigenous oral histories that tell stories of a turtle that holds the world on its back.

Two Spirit

“Two-Spirit” is an organizing strategy or tool, and not an identity. In other words, it is a way to identify those individuals who embody diverse sexualities, genders, gender-identities and/or gender expressions and who are Indigenous to Turtle Island and is Nation-specific.*

* Pruden, H. (2019). Two-Spirit Conversations & Work: Subtle and at the Same Time Radically Different. In A. Devon & A. Haefele-Thomas (Eds), Transgender: A Reference Handbook (pp.134-136). ABC-CLIO.

U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable)

Someone with HIV who is taking antiretroviral treatment (ART) and who has maintained for at least six months an undetectable level of the virus in their blood cannot transmit it to someone else sexually, with or without the use of a condom. You can learn more about it here.


A spelling of “women” that is a more inclusive, progressive term that not only sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, but to also show that womxn are not the extension of men but their own free and separate entities. More intersectional than womyn because it includes trans-women and women of color.


An ambitious target set by UNAIDS to end HIV and AIDS that states by the year 2020:

  • 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.