This Mother’s Day, the Positive Women’s Network – USA reclaims and redefines motherhood from our perspective.
As a network for all women living with HIV, including transgender women, we are:
- Women who have been discouraged, shamed, and forbidden from having children.
- Women whose health, well-being and desires have been seen as secondary to those of others – including but not limited to our partners, fetuses, and children.
- Women who rely on the support of our doctors, partners, healthcare systems, and each other to safely conceive and deliver a healthy baby.
- Women who were diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy.
- Women who gave up the dream of motherhood after our diagnosis.
- Queer-identified women who may be shamed for having children.
- Women who fight for our rights to parent and raise our children.
- Women who want to have children, but cannot afford assisted reproductive technology.
- Women who have grown into adulthood and our sexual and reproductive lives with an HIV diagnosis.
- Women who choose and create our own families.
- Women who are successfully parenting our HIV-positive and HIV-negative children.
- Women who nurture and foster the growth of young people in our lives, regardless of whether we are biologic mothers.
- Women who fight for justice for the next generation.
Our experiences are diverse. Yet, at the end of the day we are proud to hold our communities and families together.
Stand with us. Show your support for HIV-positive women on Mother’s Day by signing your name below. You can also share a message below or on our facebook page: as a woman living with HIV or ally of a woman living with HIV, what does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Only names and messages will be shared. Your signatures and comments will be updated as fast as our fingers can type…!
Tyler Perry’s “Temptation” Sentences People Living with HIV to a Lifetime of Stigma and Isolation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact:
Waheedah Shabazz-El, Founding Member, firstname.lastname@example.org, (267) 231-2647
Sonia Rastogi, Communications Director, email@example.com, (408) 306-6805
April 16, 2013, New York, NY – “Tyler Perry’s Temptation left me emotionally pained, angry and disappointed. Mr. Perry, a brilliant film maker, missed a genuine opportunity for honest and accurate community education around HIV. Instead, Temptation perpetuated HIV sensationalism and stigma. It demonized people living with HIV as irresponsible and portrayed women who acquire HIV as an undesirable, reclusive, sub-species, destined to live out their lives in suffering commented Waheedah Shabazz-El, a woman living with HIV.
Two weekends and $212.7 million later, Tyler Perry’s film Temptation perpetuates the War on Women, fuels stigma and discrimination towards people of color and people living with HIV, and condones the belief that people living with HIV are sinners, who deserve punishment. Read more here.
PWN-USA Congratulates our Inaugural Board of Directors
Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA) congratulates our inaugural Board of Directors and elected Officers.
PWN-USA’s Board members bring decades of diverse experience working on HIV and intersectional issues including sexual and reproductive health, criminal justice, and housing rights. From social work, law, public speaking and training, and community organizing to founding organizations, and providing direct services, PWN-USA’s Board has a broad range of expertise. PWN-USA’s Board members are active in local, national and global social justice communities.
All are women living with HIV. Read more...
Take Action! Kansas Wants to Quarantine People with HIV
It’s not a joke.
Today and tomorrow the Kansas Legislature will consider a bill that would expand the authority of state and local health officials to impose isolation or quarantine on people living with HIV and other infectious diseases. But quarantine statutes are designed for dangerous diseases spread through casual contact, thus presenting a danger to overall public health.
HIV is not transmitted by casual contact, and it makes no sense that people living with HIV must be quarantined or isolated for public health reasons. We need you to contact Kansas legislators today. Read more…
The Real Cost of Shame
March 10th marked National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and March 8th marked International Women’s Day. We at the Positive Women’s Network USA (PWN-USA) are filled with the simultaneous promise of hope and sadness at lost opportunities. Stigma related to HIV and sexuality, criminalization of people and communities impacted by HIV, and internalized shame by people living with HIV and women of color perpetuated by such public health campaigns and the media continue to disenfranchise many of the people who most need life-saving care and treatment. Read more…
Coalition of U.S. Women’s Health and HIV Advocates Call for Accelerated US Government Plan for Demonstrating Feasibility of PrEP for Women
VOICE Results Underscore Need for Clear, US-Based PrEP Implementation Agenda
Atlanta, March 4, 2013 – The U.S. Women and PrEP Working Group, a coalition of more than 50 women from leading AIDS and women’s health organizations, today called on US government agencies to coordinate a national agenda that will quickly and accurately answer questions about how the antiretroviral (ARV) drug Truvada can best be made available as an HIV prevention option for women at risk of HIV infection.
The Working Group called for a US federal coordinating group to be convened with the goal of ensuring that plans and funds are in place for demonstration projects that will answer key questions about the use of daily tenofovir/emtricitibine (TDF/FTC, brand name Truvada) as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among women in the United States, as well as plans for educational campaigns for women, their partners and health care providers as PrEP is rolled out. Read more here.
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Check out our Upcoming Events page and see what PWNers all around the country are up to for this years NWGHAAD! From female condom demos to film screening to panel discussions on PrEP. From Ohio to Colorado to Louisiana and California. PWNers and allies are shifting the discussion on women and HIV!
PWN-USA in the Media: Feminism Should Be Inclusive and Flexible, NY Times February 18, 2013
By Dani McClain, a Nation Institute fellow reporting on reproductive health and sexuality
To understand where feminism is headed, look to today’s reproductive justice movement. Check out the Mother’s Day cards celebrating nontraditional families that took the Internet by storm last year. Talk to the network of H.I.V.-positive women determined to shape the policies that affect them. Efforts like these are winning hearts and minds because they acknowledge what many of us have long known: An individual’s ability to chart her own course is intimately tied to what’s happening in her family and community. Read more.
This Valentine’s Day, Show Your Love! End Violence Against Women & Girls. PWN-USA Stands with One Billion Rising.
Contact: Sonia Rastogi, PWN-USA Communications Coordinator
408.306.6805 // firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 14, 2013
This Valentine’s Day, Positive Women’s Network – United States of America (PWN-USA) shows our love for women by participating in One Billion Rising’s day of action to raise awareness about violence against women and girls.
PWN-USA Colorado Regional Coordinator Barb Cardell, who with her husband is participating in Boulder’s One Billion Rising event tonight says, “Tom and I are rising today to celebrate our love and life together. Because love should never be pain, disrespect, or violence.” Read more.
PWN-USA Announces the Next Chapter in our Development as an Independent Organization
Feb. 6, 2013
Inspired by global networks of women living with HIV and supported by leaders in the United States, Positive Women’s Network (PWN) was officially founded by 28 diverse women living with HIV in June of 2008. Its purpose was to create a unified voice and building collective power for HIV-positive women across the United States. When PWN was founded it was with the understanding and goal that one day it would transition from WORLD, an organization which provided a structural umbrella for U.S. Positive Women’s Network to establish itself as an independent organization, in its own right.
That day has come. PWN founding members, Steering Committee members, Advisory Group members and our regional leaders have decided to embark on a new path, a fresh start, in order to fulfill our original mission, advance HIV-positive women’s autonomy, and strengthen our accountability to our national constituency. Our fresh start includes a new name, logo and website, and the same inspiration and vision that has always guided us.
Effective immediately, our name is Positive Women’s Network of the United States of America (PWN-USA).
As PWN-USA, we will continue to represent and advocate for women living with HIV in the United States and remain a part of the national and global People Living with HIV (PLHIV) movement. While we have collectively accomplished much over the last several years, we hold the same values and mission that inspired us to join forces on behalf of women living with HIV in 2008.
PWN’s leadership remains privileged to serve, lead and represent HIV-positive women in the U.S. We rely on the collective strength of our members and allies to support us as we start a new chapter in the development of PWN-USA. We will be issuing a call for all HIV-positive women across the nation to provide input on our new logo, the development of our new PWN-USA website and our 2013-2014 strategic planning process. We encourage you to join us. We can be reached at positivewomensnetworkUSA@gmail.com.
Thank you in advance for your continued support, guidance, and mentorship.
In sisterhood and solidarity,
Jane P. Fowler
Andrea L’amour Harrington
Linda H. Scruggs
PWN-USA Statement on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Updated: Positive Women’s Network – United States of America Congratulates the PACHA for passing Criminalization Resolution
February 7, 2013
In observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA) urges the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) to pass resolution condemning HIV criminalization laws and end the pipeline of unjust incarceration of Black men and women living with HIV in the United States
February 7, 2013 — Washington, DC Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a fact sheet entitled “HIV and AIDS among African Americans.” This fact sheet indicates that Black Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV and to suffer worse health outcomes once infected. According to the CDC, young Black American gay men “now account for more new HIV infections than any other (population) group.” Furthermore, Black American women, despite a slight decline in new HIV infections, continue to “be more affected by HIV than women of any other race or ethnicity.” Read more.
A Holiday Letter
Jan. 2 2013
As 2012 ends and 2013 begins, we are thankful for the incredible blessings and abundance this past year has brought.
In 2012, the U.S. Positive Women’s Network was involved in important efforts, including serving as a community partner for the International AIDS Conference, hosting a 3-day leadership summit for 50 powerful HIV-positive women in the South, witnessing the White House establish a federal interagency work group on the intersection of Women, HIV and Violence and strengthening our regional work in coalition and sisterhood. Read more.
World AIDS Day: Getting to Zero for Women Means Ending Violence Against Women!
Video: Melissa Harris-Perry Show on World AIDS Day with PWNer Sonia Rastogi
Click here to watch the video!
We Were Never Meant to Survive: Violence in the Lives of HIV-Positive Women in South Africa. Positive Women’s Network in South Africa collaborated to create this amazing report as part of the 1 in 9 campaign, a campaign focused on upholding the sexual rights of women and combating violence against women.
In the Media:
Domestic Violence Doubles Risk of Death for HIV-Positive Women by Laura Whitehorn. “Episodes of domestic violence dramatically raises the short-term risk of death for women living with or at risk of contracting HIV, according to research announced on Wednesday, July 25, at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS2012) in Washington, DC. The data contribute to a growing body of information on the higher risks of infection, illness and death among women in the United States.” Read more.
Vulnerability and empowerment: At the International AIDS Conference, an examination of sexual abuse and violence against women — and men. “A history of recent abuse increases the risk of death by 40% in HIV-positive women, U.S. researchers [with the Women's Interagency HIV Study] reported at the 19th International AIDS Conference, held in Washington, D.C. in July.” Read more.
Trauma Drives HIV Epidemic in Women. “Physical violence, sexual abuse and other forms of childhood and adult trauma are major factors fueling hte epidemic of HIV/AIDS among American women. Scientists have known for years that traumatized women are at greater risk of becoming infected. Now, two new studies from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Harvard Medical School demonstrate that a high rate of trauma among women already infected with HIV also plays a role in the epidemic.” Read more.