CDC’s Health Equity Style Guide emphasizes the importance of addressing all people inclusively, with respect, including using non-stigmatizing, bias-free language. Avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes or blaming people for their own life circumstances or health status when reporting data or information about health disparities.

As you create information resources, give presentations, engage with partners, and even develop and review internal communications, look for opportunities to apply the style guide guidance to better interact and connect.

Using a health equity lens describes key considerations for framing information about health disparities and general public health implications. The CDC health equity guide provides the following:

  • overarching principles to consider throughout public health response efforts, including written and oral dissemination of information
  • preferred terms for select population groups; the terms to avoid represent an ongoing shift toward non-stigmatizing language
  • considerations for developing community mitigation guidance and public health communications.
  • links to references, other resources and style guides to avoid stigmatizing language used to develop this style guide. Glossary includes definitions of key terms.

Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death and gossip that spreads rumors and myths. Access CDC resources on reducing stigma.