By Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Venita Ray and Dena Hughes
Readers may already be aware of the tragic May murder of Elisha Henson, a 30-year-old Texas mother of two who was brutally strangled and dumped into a lake a few months ago after a male with whom she’d had a previous intimate encounter learned of her HIV status. …
Though the consensual physical act that Elisha and the alleged murderer engaged in posed virtually zero risk of HIV transmission, fear and ignorance fueled a violent, unnecessary act. And now two young boys are without their mother.
Elisha’s murder, like that of another young mother, Cicely Bolden of Dallas two years ago (who was murdered by a boyfriend after she disclosed her HIV status to him), and countless others before that, highlight the fact that though we have come very far over the years in the field of HIV, we still have a long, long way to go. …
Nationally, advocates are taking action, including Positive Women’s Network-USA. Several of us Houston advocates have also teamed up to address this situation, which happened nearly in our own backyard. Read More
By Naimah Oneal, Regional Co-Chair, PWN-USA-Ohio
My name is Naimah Oneal; I am a mother, grandmother, auntie and lastly I am a woman living with HIV. I must say that I am truly living with HIV by living my life. I went back to school after my husband died and became a licensed social worker with my Master’s degree in Social Work. I feel that I am a strong woman who understands that discussing one’s HIV status is important, but I have a problem with this nation’s and particularly Ohio’s laws has they relate to HIV criminalization. Read More
Positive Women’s Network – USA Mourns and Condemns the HIV-Related Murder of a Texas Woman
June 18, 2014 - Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA), a national membership body of women living with HIV, is shocked and horrified to learn of media reports that a young woman in Texas was brutally murdered, allegedly as a result of her HIV status.
According to media coverage, Justin Welch strangled 30-year-old Elisha Henson “when he learned she had HIV after she gave him oral sex.”
“This news is sickening, devastating, and heartbreaking to women living with HIV,” says PWN-USA Executive Director Naina Khanna. “Not only does it reveal the lack of value placed on the lives of women with HIV; it also shows that ignorance and misinformation about how HIV is and is not transmitted are quite literally deadly.” Read More
Positive Women’s Network – USA turned SIX on June 17! Can you believe it?
PWN-USA Releases 2014-2016 Strategic Plan
Every day, PWN-USA inspires, informs and mobilizes women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve our lives and uphold our rights. In 2013, we went through an extensive strategic planning process and listened to hundreds of stakeholders. Over 200 women living with HIV contributed to our newly launched vision, values, and goals. Check out our 2014-2016 strategic plan by clicking on the image below!
PWN-USA Survey Finds Violations of Sexual and Reproductive Rights of US Women Living with HIV
To better understand the ways in which women living with HIV experience their own sexuality, relationships, and reproductive desires and intentions, within this cultural, political and social context, Positive Women’s Network – United States of America, a national membership body of women living with HIV, created a research and analysis project designed and implemented entirely by women living with HIV. UNSPOKEN: Sexuality, Romance, and Reproductive Freedom for Women Living with HIV in the United States articulates the findings of that project and details recommendations for further research, advocacy, and action.
- Over 50% of US women living with HIV in care have not been counseled on viral suppression as an HIV prevention strategy
- Women living with HIV face high levels of internalized stigma, which negatively impacts self-perception, enjoyment of sex, and intimate partnerships, and may lead to abuse
- 69% of respondents had experienced nonconsensual sex and 72% had experienced intimate partner violence
- Women living with HIV are resilient and resourceful, utilizing diverse strategies to improve health, perceptions of body image, and increase agency in sexual and romantic decision-making