Positive Women’s Network – USA is a national membership body of women living with HIV and our allies that exists to strengthen the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the United States. Founded in 2008 by 28 diverse HIV-positive women leaders, PWN-USA develops a leadership pipeline and policy agenda that applies a gender lens to the domestic HIV epidemic grounded in social justice and human rights. Everyday we inspire, inform, and mobilize women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve our lives and uphold our rights. In addition to federal advocacy, PWN-USA supports regional chapters to build leadership at a local and state level. For more information, contact: PositiveWomensNetworkUSA(at)gmail.com.
Support PWN-USA by donating here
The mission of PWN-USA is to prepare and involve HIV-positive women, including transgender women, in all levels of policy and decision-making to improve the quality of women’s lives, by:
- Combating HIV-related stigma and demonstrating that HIV-positive women are part of the solution;
- Training and supporting HIV-positive women leaders;
- Creating and sharing tools for women and HIV advocates; and
- Mobilizing for strategic campaigns to change policies
PWN-USA applies a gender equality and human rights lens to the HIV epidemic to achieve federal policies grounded in the reality of women’s lived experiences.
As a national network of self-identified HIV- positive women, we value creating a supportive environment that fosters our eleven core values: Self-Identity, Root Cause Analysis, Changing the Balance of Power, Prioritizing Impacted Communities, Sustainability, Meaningful Involvement, Allies, Herstory, Mentorship, Accountability, and Leadership Development.
We value explicitly being a network of self-identified HIV-positive women, inclusive of transgender women.
2. ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS: A HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK
We value the analysis that the HIV epidemic and its disproportionate impact on marginalized communities are symptoms of larger structural injustices – including but not limited to racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and stigmatizing attitudes towards communities vulnerable to acquiring HIV.
In addition, we believe that the full human rights and dignity of HIV-positive people, all women, people of color, low-income people, sex workers, LGBTQ persons, and drug users must be upheld in order to prevent HIV infection and ensure a high quality of life for those living with HIV.
3. CHANGING THE BALANCE OF POWER
We recognize that creating sustainable long-term solutions requires changing who’s in power and how power is held.
We value building a new power base of women living with HIV in the U.S. We also value sharing power and consensus decision-making within our network structure.
4. PRIORITIZING IMPACTED COMMUNITIES
We value decision-making processes that prioritize those most impacted by the decision. Within our network, we value supporting the visible and meaningful leadership of HIV-positive women, especially women of color, low-income women, and women who face barriers accessing technology and/or information.
We value sustainable solutions to problems and working in a way that is sustainable. We value paying and otherwise compensating HIV-positive women for their time, we also value work-life balance and creating work and volunteer environments for HIV-positive women that honor our whole beings.
6. MEANINGFUL INVOLVEMENT
We value the leadership, participation, input, and perspective of all women living with HIV at every level of organizational and political leadership – including women at all places on the HIV disclosure spectrum and women at varying levels of literacy and technology access.
We value the perspective and wisdom of people of any gender and any HIV status who supports our vision, mission and goals.
We value learning from the past. We honor the women and men who have walked this path before, including those who are with us and those who are not.
We honor expertise within our network and outside of it, and we value fostering a supportive environment to learn. We also value sharing our knowledge and teaching others.
We value holding each other to a high standard of commitment and follow-through. We value taking input from as many members as possible before making decisions.
11. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
We value developing ourselves as more effective leaders, identifying and supporting new leaders, and creating space for emerging leaders.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (click here for bios and contact information):
Officers of the Board:
Chair – Barb Cardell
Vice Chair – Waheedah Shabazz-El
Secretary – Dee Borrego
Treasurer – Nicole Seguin
Co-Parliamentarian – Loren Jones
Co-Parliamentarian – Pat Kelly
Members of the Board:
PWN-USA STAFF (click here for bios and contact information):
Executive Director – Naina Khanna
Communications Director – Sonia Rastogi
You can also get more involved through our work groups (work groups are groups of advocates who work on a specific issue and meet mostly over the phone):
- Policy: the policy workgroup analyzes current policy trends and how they impact women. For more info and to join the PWN-USA policy workgroup contact Naina.
- Communications: the communications workgroup strategizes PWN-USA’s media and communications strategy including blogging and campaign. For more info contact Sonia.
- Regional Organizing and Leadership Development: the ROLD workgroup support advocates regionally and provides mentorship for leadership development. For more info contact Pat Kelly.