Do You Have to Disclose to Be a Leader?

PWN-USA Statement on Disclosure and Leadership

We believe that ALL women living with HIV can be leaders and have a home in PWN-USA, regardless of their disclosure choices.

pwn-usa leaders at SPEAK UP!
The circle of leaders grows …


  • Disclosure is a continuum, from telling no one to sharing openly with the world. Most women living with HIV travel along the spectrum in their daily lives and aren’t locked into one place.
  • We must demand that opportunities exist for participation in planning and policy groups for women along the disclosure spectrum.
  • Our disclosure is a gift that WE choose to share; no one should take this choice away from us.
  • As positive leaders, we accept that stigma and discrimination are real in our lives. Regardless of our personal disclosure decisions, we defend the right for other women living with HIV to decide what is true for their lives.
  • By disclosing our status and speaking our truth, we break the cycle of silence.
  • Leaders must be MAD, Make a Difference, and be able to birth a change.
  • Power of Disclosure will break the cycle of silence.
  • We should not be afraid to speak up, be a voice for others, speak our truth.
  • Disclosure can mean different things at different times and look differently to individuals.
  • A leader is compassionate, knowledgeable, and professional, and can be effective whether openly disclosed or private about their status.

This statement was developed by a group of PWN-USA leaders at SPEAK UP! A National Leadership Summit for Women with HIV.

One thought on “Do You Have to Disclose to Be a Leader?

  1. I’m glad that PWN-USA leaves the decision to disclose up to the individual. I’ve been pondering that question since I left the SPEAK UP! Summit. My thoughts are this: How can I be the voice of the community if the community doesn’t know that I belong to it. I disclose my status especially in the community because I want to ensure that we are all receiving quality healthcare. The goal is to have everyone with an HIV diagnosis be virally suppressed and retained in care. We can end this epidemic!! Nothing for us without us! My community needs to know that they can trust me with their concerns and that I will represent them accordingly. There’s no shame in being HIV+.

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