PWN-USA-Michigan envisions a world where women living with HIV can live long, healthy, dignified, and productive lives, free from stigma and discrimination. Our mission is to prepare and empower women living with HIV, including gender identity and sexual expression, in all diversities and on all levels of policy and decision-making.

“We, PWN-USA-Michigan, are committed to the mission of PWN-USA. By coming together as a unified chapter to work on the issues that are important to women living with HIV, such as achieving women-centered care and addressing both internal and external stigma, we look forward to cultivating a strong force of women leaders in our community.” – PWN-USA-Michigan Co-Chair Shirley Hankerson

Messages From the Co-Chairs



Shirley Hankerson PWN-USA-Michigan imageShirley A. Hankerson

Shirley has been working for CareFirst Community Health Services, Detroit, Mich., since May 2010.  Her position is as an Early Intervention Specialist and Outreach Worker for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Shirley was diagnosed with HIV in April 2008, after which she decided to reach out and help others living with the virus. She is also associated with the AIDS Alliance for Women, Children, Youth and Families, advocating for these populations to get the needed services, and to educate them on HIV/AIDS and available Ryan White services. Shirley is the Co-Chair of the Positive Women’s Network-USA of Michigan, a newly established regional chapter.

Shirley is the Co-Chair of the Southeastern Michigan HIV/AIDS Council (SEMHAC). SEMHAC is a group of individuals who plan and decide how to use Ryan White Part A funds to deliver services to PLWHA.  As a community planning body, SEMHAC’s mission is to strengthen a coordinated regional response to HIV/AIDS services. She is also a sub-committee co-chair of “People Who Care,” which is a voice of PLWHA on SEMHAC.

Shirley is a proud mother of four adult children, nine grandchildren, one great-grand, and expecting a second great-grand!  Her family is very supportive of her efforts and work with the HIV/AIDS community.

Claire Gasamagera

Claire GasamageraClaire is a Visionary Operations Executive, fluent in over seven languages including English, French and Kinyarwanda, an anti-AIDS activist, freelance writer, lobbyist and consultant with solid experience managing all levels of multiple projects including fundraising, advocacy, budgeting and administration with leadership experience on the national, regional and global levels.

Today Claire is a proud Detroiter, but she was born with HIV in Rwanda to well-educated parents, dispelling the myth that HIV only affects those in poor and uneducated communities. She lost both parents to the virus and faced stigma in Rwanda, which inspired her to start a community-based group for HIV-positive youth. Claire received two national awards in Rwanda for her work with youth and on the reproductive health rights of young people living with HIV. In 2012 she moved to Michigan, continuing her activism as a blogger and aspiring novelist. She’s initiating a community-based organization of immigrants living with and affected by HIV; she is a Board member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV North America (ICW-NA), a member of the Global youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS (GYCA) and the Southeastern Michigan AIDS Council (SEMAHC). She also serves as a co-chair for the Positive Women’s Network-USA Michigan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s