Stepping Up Commitment: Women and Girls Living with HIV Must Matter Every Day of the Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Olivia Ford, oford.pwnusa@gmail.com / 347.553.5174 

March 10, 2015 – Each year, on March 10, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) is observed in the US. But at Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA), a national advocacy network of women living with HIV, we work on addressing the HIV epidemic among women year round. We don’t expect everyone to do that. There are many other issues and communities that require sustained focus and commitment.

However,  the federal government has consistently failed to prioritize women in the domestic HIV response:

Consequently, we are compelled to point out the myriad ways in which violence is perpetrated against women living with HIV. The intersections between HIV, violence and trauma for women are well-documented in the literature, and we applaud the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP)’s lead role in addressing this critical issue, forming a federal interagency workgroup to address it, and making this issue the centerpiece of its NWGHAAD focus this year.

However, it is important to recognize that violence comes in many forms – from institutions, policies, and practices that systematically render transgender people invisible, to power structures that consistently fail to meaningfully involve women and other communities impacted by HIV in generating recommendations, solutions, and decisions about policies and programs that impact our lives.

To effectively address the HIV epidemic among women, including the estimated 300,000 women living with HIV in the United States, the next National HIV/AIDS Strategy – which will be released this year – must include strategic priorities that address women’s needs.  These include the need for high quality, non-stigmatizing sexual and reproductive healthcare for women with HIV throughout the lifespan, implementation of trauma-informed practices in care settings, and family-centered services that facilitate and support access to care for people living with HIV.

Most important, people living with HIV must be meaningfully involved in crafting sustainable policy and programmatic solutions that reflect the realities of our lives.  On #NWGHAAD, and every day of the year: Nothing about us #WithoutUs.

Words Matter: Sharing as Much as I’m Comfortable to Stand Up to HIV Stigma

By Tami Haught, PWN-USA Member

Tami Haught.
Tami Haught.

How we introduce ourselves makes a difference; the words we use matter.

When asked at a meeting to introduce myself, I will start with: My name is Tami Haught and I have been living with HIV for 21 years. Sharing that little bit of information about myself is selling myself short and not conveying the full message that I want to share with others. Not that being comfortable with sharing the fact that I am living with HIV isn’t a big deal; disclosure is never easy and opens you up to ridicule, stigma, discrimination, bullying, and rejection, and it took a long time for me to share.

I’ve been thinking though: Does this little bit of information make me relatable, or does it continue the perception that “HIV won’t happen to me”? However, this introduction shares more of my story, which hopefully more people can relate to, and shows that HIV can happen to anyone – after all, I am just like you:

My name is Tami Haught. I have been a mother living with HIV for 18 years. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend living with HIV for 21 years. I was a wife living with HIV for almost three years. I have been openly living with HIV for 15 years.

I am beginning to think this more expanded introduction can help people relate to me better; after all, I am sure whoever I am talking with will be like I was, assuming HIV would never touch their lives. But talking about being a mother – everyone has one.

The other descriptions of my life open up the opportunity for people to ask questions:

Why have you only been living openly with HIV for 15 years??

This gives me the opportunity to share that for the first six years of living with HIV I lived in silence because of the stigma, self-shame, and fear after my diagnosis. My late husband (thus being a wife for almost three years) didn’t want to share our status; we lived in Texas, where the hate, fear, stigma, and discrimination were rampant.

Words matter; and to help reduce the stigma of HIV, we need to use as many as we feel comfortable sharing. If we give people the opportunity to self-identify similar traits or characteristics, others may begin to recognize that I am just like them or they are just like me. Once people who aren’t living with HIV realize people living with HIV are just like them, maybe we can truly make a difference – because we will not be just a number, the far-off “someone else.” HIV does not discriminate, and anyone can contract HIV.

Tami Haught is an Iowa-based PWN-USA member, SERO Project Criminalization Confererence Coordinator, Community Organizer for CHAIN (Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network), President of PITCH (Positive Iowans Taking Charge), and a member of the USPLHIV Caucus Steering Committee and the GNP+NA Board.

World AIDS Day 2014, PWN-USA Style

The impact of advocacy by women living with HIV is happening, and is felt, all the time in communities where our members and sisters are doing their work on behalf of their communities. World AIDS Day is a time to truly highlight, and celebrate, that daily impact.

Below are some highlights of PWN-USA members’ activities across the US this World AIDS Day – Monday, December 1, 2014, and all week long. You can also check out this listing of a range of events featuring PWNers during World AIDS Week!


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PWN-USA-Philadelphia members congratulate Regional Organizing Coordinator Waheedah Shabazz-El after receiving her Red Ribbon Award at UPenn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) 11th Annual Awards Ceremony at City Hall

 

The Houston Positive Organizing Project, which includes members of PWN-USA, was successful in getting Houston Mayor Annise Parker to officially proclaim December 1 as World AIDS Day in the city. View the proclamation

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The Alameda County Public Health Department presented the 5th Annual Dr. Robert C. Scott “Trailblazer Award” to Naina Khanna, PWN-USA’s own Executive Director!

 

 

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Columbus, Georgia-based PWNer Tammy Kinney (left), with Juanita Hubbard and the Mayor of Columbus, Teresa Tomlinson (center)

 

 

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Texas PWNer Nell Watts (second from the right), speaking with a panel of educators, Tarrant County Health Department, and Case Managers at University of Texas – Arlington Students for Global Change

 

 

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Virginia PWNer Janet Hall was a Peer Advocacy Award honoree at the 9th Annual World AIDS Day Gala in Norfolk!

 

 

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PWN-USA co-founder and Board member Pat Migliore (second from right) with PWN-USA sisters and allies in Seattle, after she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in HIV/AIDS from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at the 11th Annual Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast!

 

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Texas advocate and ally Morenike Giwa Onaiwu of Advocacy Without Borders has launched the #NotYourInfection campaign to eliminate stigmatizing language from US laws. Read more about the campaign

 

 

 

Dominique Banks of Memphis, TN, represented PWN-USA and Project SWARM powerfully at the Women’s Empowerment Forum on Dec 4!

 

VIDEOS

PWN-USA-South Carolina member Stacy Jennings reads a poem as part of her submission to TheBody.com’s #RedRemindsMe contest. Vote for her submission!

PWN-USA Board Chair Barb Cardell spoke out as part of a video series from the HIV Disclosure Project about HIV science, stigma, and truths about transmission risk. Read the article and view all three videos

 

 

Check out this video of Georgia-based PWNer Tammy Kinney on the 11 o’clock news on World AIDS Day!

Everything You Need to Know About SPEAK UP!

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Lepena Reid, Janet Kitchen and Rose Todd, South Florida

SPEAK UP! A National Leadership Summit for Women Living with HIV is just one week away! Here’s everything you need to know, whether you’re coming to the Summit or following the happenings there from afar:

PWN-USA SPEAK UP! Summit Orientation Webinar – slideshow and voice recording of a helpful presentation on the ins and outs of the Summit (here’s a PDF of just the slides from the webinar)

SPEAK UP! Summit Official Website – the place to go for the full program, information on travel, a list of our generous sponsors, and much more!

“I’m Going to SPEAK UP! Because …” – videos and images from SPEAK UP! Summit participants about why they’re making the trip to Fort Walton Beach

Want to volunteer at SPEAK UP!? Contact Nerissa Irizarry to sign up: 510.698.3811 | nerissa.pwnusa@gmail.com

Here’s some background information on the Summit if you want to know more!

Like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter account and the hashtag #PWNSpeaks for up-to-the-minute updates from the Summit!

For those who are coming to SPEAK UP!:

SPEAK UP! A National Leadership Summit for Women Living with HIVWHAT DO I BRING??

  • Dress – Summit dress code is casual to business casual for hot weather. Bring your best pj’s because you will be sharing a room and we are planning a pajama party! Other suggestions:
  • Beach towels
  • Enough Meds – couple extra days supply just in case
  • Medical insurance card
  • Cellphone charger if you have your cell
  • Laptop and charger if you need one
  • State-issued ID
  • Sunscreen and hat for the sun, bathing suit if you plan to get in pool or ocean
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Extra business cards if you have them for networking
  • $30, in cash or on your debit card, to present at check-in for hotel incidentals (will be refunded)

Upon arrival at the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort:

  • 2 pm: Summit registration
    Fill out a few forms, get your program & conference bag!
  • 3 pm: Hotel check-in
    You will be assigned a shared, double room with mini-fridge & microwave
  • 5 pm: Summit opening session and dinner begins

Florida, here we come!!!

Looks like we made it!
Looks like we made it!

Two Women with HIV Join Obama’s Pool of Top HIV Advisors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Olivia Ford – oford.pwnusa@gmail.com – 347.553.5174

September 4, 2014 – Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA) congratulates two of our members, Gina Brown of New Orleans and Grissel Granados of Los Angeles, on their recent appointments to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA is the premier federal advisory body on the HIV epidemic, and includes a diversity of stakeholders in the HIV field among its roughly two dozen members. Brown, Granados and other incoming PACHA members are being sworn in today in Washington, DC.

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Gina Brown

“As a member of PACHA, I hope to keep women a vital part of the conversation,” says Brown, a social worker and member of PWN-USA’s Board of Directors who is currently pursuing her second Master’s degree, in Public Policy. Brown brings 12 years of experience on the HIV community’s frontlines – as a case manager, primarily in a Ryan White Part D-funded program working with women, young people and families, as well as a leader in a number of regional and national planning bodies. “I also bring 20 years of being an HIV-positive woman,” Brown adds; “I am looking forward to this exciting new chapter in my journey!”

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Grissel Granados

Granados brings a unique perspective as one of the youngest appointees to the Council, a champion for recognition of youth concerns in HIV policy, and an HIV and STI testing coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “My approach to HIV prevention is influenced by a sex positive lens, social determinants of health, and social justice for disenfranchised communities,” she says; “I am excited to do work at a national level, and I look forward to learning from other seasoned activists.”

“It’s exciting to see more women of color living with HIV coming onto the Council, and they have great expertise to bring,” says PACHA member Cecilia Chung, a PWNer and Chair of the US People Living with HIV Caucus.

“We are proud of Grissel and Gina, and know that they will represent the community of people living with and impacted by HIV well,” says Naina Khanna, Executive Director of PWN-USA and a member of PACHA from 2010-2014. “We look forward to supporting their fierce advocacy on the Council.”

“I welcome them both, as colleagues and advocates,” says Rev. Vanessa Sharp (Cephas), a sitting PACHA member, longtime HIV survivor and advocate, of Granados and Brown. “Together, along with all of the other new and current members of PACHA, we are agents of change! We have much work to do to stay the course and accomplish the goals set before us.”

“I’m Going to SPEAK UP! Because …”: Why Women Leaders Are Attending PWN-USA’s Summit (Videos)

In just one short month, 200 women living with HIV from every region and corner of the United States will gather in Fort Walton Beach, FL, for SPEAK UP! A National Leadership Summit for Women Living with HIV.

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Lepena Reid, Janet Kitchen and Rose Todd, South Florida

We will build leadership skills, address critical policy, advocacy and research issues relevant to women’s lives – and foster a growing national community among women living with HIV.

To get to Fort Walton Beach, women are organizing vans, fundraising for flights, borrowing frequent flyer miles. They’re going on behalf of supporting organizations. They’re selling sweets and jewelry. They’re inviting their pastors and pharmacists and employers and fellow community members to support their work.

Why are so many women so passionate about attending this herstoric gathering? View the videos below to find out. Help make SPEAK UP! a reality for even more women by supporting the Summit!

 

I’m Going to the SPEAK UP! Summit Because …

Teresa Sullivan, Pennsylvania

 

Joyce Belton, South Carolina

 

Maria T. Mejia, Florida

 

LaDonna Boyens, Pennsylvania

 

Jetta, Marlena, Jeanetta and Susan, South Carolina

 

Nancy Asha Molock, Pennsylvania

We Grieve for Elisha and Fight to End Violence Against Women With HIV

Positive Women’s Network – USA Mourns and Condemns the HIV-Related Murder of a Texas Woman

Contact:  Olivia Ford, PWN-USA – Brooklyn, NY – oford.pwnusa@gmail.com – 347.553.5174

                  Venita Ray – Houston, TX – venita_ray@yahoo.com – 713.299.6123

                  Marsha Jones, The Afiya Center – Dallas, TX – marsha@theafiyacenter.org – 214.753.3777

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. The risk of a man acquiring HIV by receiving oral sex from a woman is so vanishingly low as to be virtually impossible.”

This is the second brutal murder of a woman due to HIV status within two years in Texas that has made mainstream media headlines. In September 2012, following the heinous murder of Dallas resident Cicely Bolden, women leaders living with HIV and our allies mourned Bolden’s death and condemned media coverage that cast her consensual sex partner, who was her murderer, as a victim.

“This is a travesty,” says Venita Ray, an advocate and woman living with HIV in Houston, Texas. “After Cicely’s murder, women in Texas were already afraid to disclose their HIV status. Now this? Stigma is literally killing women, more than 30 years into this epidemic.”

Although these two cases have received a high level of media attention, we know that violence in the lives of women with HIV is all too common. A survey conducted by PWN-USA last year found that 72% of respondents were survivors of intimate partner violence. Large studies have shown that women living with HIV suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at rates five times higher than the general population of U.S. women, and experience various types of lifetime abuse at two to six times the national rate.

Our hearts and our prayers go out to Elisha Henson’s loved ones. We stand with Elisha and all women living with HIV who face stigma, discrimination, and violence in its many forms. But equally important, we fight for solutions. If Justin Welch had known it was impossible to acquire HIV by receiving oral sex, would he have killed? Comprehensive, accurate sex education is desperately needed, reduces risk of unwanted pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted infections — and as we see in this instance, can literally save lives.

Ignorance is not bliss. It is deadly. We must do better.

On behalf of women living with HIV who face violence and even death due to misinformation and ignorance, PWN-USA recommends the following calls to action:
– Support the repeal of laws that criminalize HIV status: These laws are frequently based on outdated understandings and unfounded fears of HIV transmission risks. They do not prevent HIV transmission or promote public health, but instead foster environments of hostility and brutality toward people living with HIV.
– Pressure local health systems and law enforcement to implement recent White House recommendations to address violence and trauma in the lives of women living with HIV.
– Based on these same federal recommendations, ensure that violence and murder based on HIV status are prosecuted as hate crimes.
– Encourage responsible reporting by the media of Elisha Henson’s tragic murder and other cases involving people living with HIV: Coverage should be based on up-to-date knowledge of HIV transmission, must not portray people with HIV as predatory or irresponsible, and must uphold the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV.

We grieve for Elisha, and we will fight until violence in the lives of all women with HIV comes to an end.

Read a statement in response to Elisha Henson’s murder by the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) and the North America (ICWNA) chapter

 

Peace at Home and in the World for Women and Girls Living with HIV

By Waheedah Shabazz-El, PWN-USA Board Member and woman openly living with HIV

537259_10151434004186660_136443089_nOne cannot deny the devastating impact of physical bruising, scarring, mutilation or death of women and girls due to violence because these unsightly images represent some of the more obvious consequences to brutality and violence.

I could end this article here and many of you would agree that brutality against women and girls is bad and unacceptable.  The 16 Days of activism against gender violence – a global mobilization and solidarity campaign demonstrates our resolution to create tools and increase advocacy towards governments to implement promises made to eliminate all forms of violence against women.  Our goal is to establish real peace in the “Home and in the World.”

However, all violence against women and girls is not as obvious as the shiner under her lovely eyes or the hand prints embedded in the tender flesh of her throat.  Some other forms of violence against women are much more understated and subtle.

When it comes to sexual rights, birthing and reproductive health rights for women and girls, many of us encounter systems that seem to customize barriers to claiming and embracing our birthrights as human creatures with souls, values and aspirations.  However, women’s bodies are gregariously used as political footballs to win or lose campaigns.

And if you happen to be a woman living with HIV, the ugly face of discrimination undoubtedly takes violation of sexual, birthing and reproductive health rights to an entirely different level of inequality.  For years the HIV community has been calling for government led anti-stigma campaigns.  In the US, there has been an upsurge in suppression of rights of people living with HIV to enjoy full and satisfying sexual lives by creating state by state laws that criminalizes HIV sexuality and non-disclosure…. without the presence of HIV transmission.

For women and girls living with HIV these laws are enhanced if you are found to be pregnant and they tend to work against you in child custody battles.  In some criminal cases, women living with HIV have been made to sign a clause that orders them “not to become pregnant as a part of their parole stipulation.”

So during our 16 day campaign to eliminate all violence against women and girls – in order to establish “peace in the home and in the world” can we strategize ways to establish peace in the courts as well? Because HIV is not a crime, it’s a medical condition.

And how about peace in healthcare settings, where women living with HIV of all ages are realizing that their reproductive health is not integrated with their primary health care? As if women with HIV have no need for healthy options for conception, birth coaches, breast feeding options or counseling for pregnancy loss, whether the loss is through miscarriage or abortion. Peace in health care settings where HIV-positive women are provided comprehensive information and access to PreP, which can reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their sexual partners.

We cannot deny that HIV travels the well-worn path of gender inequality. Calling for the elimination of ALL violence against women and girls must be inclusive of the rights of all women in all our diversities, genders and sexual expressions. Establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women means denouncing even the subtle acts of violence. This includes methods that invisibilize us like categorizing transgender women as men who have sex with men, not taking into account the intersection of violence, trauma and HIV acquisition and criminalizing romance for women living with HIV. We must approach violence against women and people living with HIV as multi-level and multi-faceted. This is the only way we can stop it.

As a woman living with HIV I stand in solidarity with other women around the world to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights imperative at the local, national, regional and international levels.

From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World to Peace in the Courts to Peace in our Medical Settings, Let’s Challenge all forms of inequality and continue to create tools to pressure all our respective governments to implement promises made to eliminate all acts violence against All Women and Girls.

One way to begin in the US is by pressuring our government to go forward with ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec 18, 1979. The U.S. is one of seven countries (along with Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga) that has not signed CEDAW. Why do we, in 2013, not support it???!

NOLA, here we come! PWN-USA goes to USCA 2013…

Hi everyone,

We are getting ready for the 2013 US Conference on AIDS and look forward to seeing you all there!  Here’s a listing of some events and sessions featuring PWNers.  Hope to catch you at some of them!

Throughout USCA: 

Ongoing in Exhibit Hall Booth #615 Common Threads Made It Ourselves Market Place 

Description: Support microenterprise by women living with HIV by stopping by this marketplace for women living with HIV, Made It Ourselves will feature artists, crafters and designers primarily from the Southern region of the US including PWNers: Patricia Kelly, Stephanie Laster, Janet Kitchen, Lepena Reid, Sharon DeCuir, Margot Kirkland and Vanessa Johnson, Project Coordinator.  Providing an upbeat experience of PLHIV empowerment, USCA participants will have the opportunity to buy wares directly from women living with HIV. In addition, the proposed marketplace will feature decorative exhibits and a recorded spoken word DJ sharing stories about women living with HIV. A great place to purchase gifts and mementos from USCA 2013!

Ongoing: Be a PWN movie star! If you are a woman living with or affected by HIV, get filmed for a short Count Us In! video.  Tell us why women must be counted and how you want women’s needs addressed in the US HIV epidemic.  We’re filming short (45-90 second) videos for online distribution featuring women living with and affected by HIV who want to tell their stories. Check out an example of inspiring PWNer Gina Brown here! If you will be at USCA and want to be part of this project, email us at positivewomensnetworkusa@gmail.com with your name, a phone number to reach you onsite at the conference, and a sentence or two about why you think it’s important to Count Us In!

Ongoing: Exhibit in the PLHIV Lounge – From the Shadows:  Trauma. Violence. Resilience. Power.

Violence, Trauma and HIV are tied together in many stories of Persons living with HIV and are often over looked or ignored.  We invite you to stop by the PLHIV Lounge to take part in an evolving art project first introduced July 2012 at the International AIDS Conference. Take a few minutes to draw, doodle, write, tell your story, throw down some glitter, advocate, articulate, demand as you express, celebrate and heal through your strength and power. Several piece of art will be shared on PWN-USA’s Facebook page and many will be compiled into our second book. This is a unique chance to share your art, poem and life.

SATURDAY, September 7th don’t miss the New Orleans edition of No Pants! No Problem!

Starting at 10:00pm at Paulie’s NOLA, 810 N. Claiborne Ave., New Orleans, LA

No Pants! No Problem! is a community driven event that started in Montreal in 2004 and to create spaces that challenge sexual and gender binaries and critical inner (and outer) self dialogue about bodies and sexual privilege in a pantless, and socially conscious hot mess! The premise is easy; you come, you drop your pants, you dance in your underwear, kiss a few cuties, then dance some more. If you’re lucky you won’t be going home alone. And for that there will be a safer sex/harm reduction booth on site with a bunch of condoms, gloves, and many other goodies thanks to Women with a Vision and other community booths! Proceeds benefit AIDS ACTION NOW! & Poster Virus (Toronto) and well as NOLA’s very own Women with a Vision. Organized by Jessica Lynn Whitbread of ICW-NA.

SUNDAY, September 8th

Seminar: HIV and Aging: Ending Invisibility and Meeting Needs

2:30pm-5:30pm

Description: A panel discussion covering a variety of topics with significant focus on “meeting needs,” – i.e. delivering appropriately tailored care and services to older adults, including prevention. Questions will be drafted from ACRIA, SAGE and GMHC, and will be supplied to panel members prior to session. Questions will also come from panel members and attendees. Potential topics include commodities, clinical issues and how they differ from younger people with HIV, key services that are needed in the community, etc.

Featuring PWNer Sharon Decuir with Annie Sawyer and Marla Chidron

MONDAY, Sept 9th

Daylong Symposium on HIV/AIDS and Employment: Maximizing Existing Systems of Resources as Social Determinants of Health Intervention

8:30am-4:00pm, Empire B, Level 2

Description: This Symposium will center on employment (status, rate and service needs) as a key Social Determinant of Health (SDH) of people living with HIV/AIDS, with an exploration of potential local (New Orleans, Baton Rouge), state (Louisiana) and national level models of synergistic cross-sector coordination of services to reduce health disparities and improve individual and public HIV/AIDS health outcomes.  The Symposium on HIV/AIDS and Employment will illuminate the strategic roles that employment services play addressing critical needs of PLWHA, particularly those with disproportionate experience of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, such as young MSM, people of color, homeless or unstably housed individuals, transgender women of color, people with disabilities, survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence, people with criminal records, and members of immigrant, refugee and migrant groups.  Discussion will focus on integration of employment in the HIV/AIDS continuum of care and prevention in the context of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Effective practices, resources and research findings will be highlighted through interactive discussion among panelists and Symposium attendees.

Organized by the National Working Positive Coalition in collaboration with the CHANGE Council and National Minority AIDS Council. Featuring PWNers Gina Brown, Vanessa Johnson, and Naina Khanna. For the full agenda and to register please visit:

www.workingpositive.net

Roundtable: Assembly of People Living with HIV at the United States Conference on AIDS

8:30am-11:30am, Strand 11B, Level 2

Description: This roundtable will be a convening of people living with HIV to discuss and finalize a coalition statement of principles for PLWH for the 21st century. The assembly discussion will also include strategies for mobilization of PLWH and cultivating a community of PLWH so that we can empower the individual, increase health literacy and improve quality of life.

Organized by National Minority AIDS Council. Featuring PWNers Loren Jones and Kat Griffith

Seminar: Southern Discomfort: Developing and Using HIV Treatment Cascades and research-based Advocacy Strategies to Focus Attention and Resources on the Southern HIV Epidemic

8:30am-11:30am, Imperial 5C, Level 4

Description: An interactive session focused on developing and using research to support policy and advocacy goals aimed at garnering resources for effective HIV prevention strategies and linkage to and retention in care interventions in the South. The seminar will first discuss how health departments in the South have developed their own population specific HIV Treatment cascades, and further discuss how health departments have used treatment cascades to support programming, modeling, and best practices to link and retain people in care. Seminar leaders will discuss the successful and on-going collaboration between the SASI research team, HIV advocates and the HIV community to garner increased attention and resources for the South that will be necessary to meet the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS).

Organized by the Southern AIDS Strategy Initiative. Featuring PWNer Sharon Decuir and allies Carolyn McAllaster, Susan Reif, Blake Rowley, Robin Webb

Seminar: Improving the Engagement Cascade for Women of Color Living with HIV/AIDS: The CHANGE for Women Program

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm, Strand 10A, Level 2

Description: CHANGE for Women is an evidence-based, gender responsive program aimed at strengthening the engagement cascade for HIV positive women of color. This workshop will outline the strategies utilized by CHANGE for Women in order to address the complex barriers that prevent HIV positive women of color from optimal engagement in healthcare and provide participants with specific examples of how these strategies were implemented in San Diego County.

Organized by Christie’s Place. Featuring Shannon Hansen, MSW, Erin Falvey, Ph.D., and PWNers Jay Conner and Martha Zarate.

Roundtable: Gender-based Violence and Women Living with HIV

2:30-4:00pm, Imperial 3, Level 4

Description: When addressing HIV among women and girls, we cannot ignore the detrimental effects of gender-based violence and the cumulative effects of trauma, which lead to gender-related health disparities. The session will with an overview of current data, followed by an update on the progress of the Federal Interagency Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities. These brief presentations will be followed by a facilitated discussion addressing the following topics: increasing involvement of community members, including women and girls living with HIV, in efforts to address this intersectional issue.

Organized by: PWN-USA. Led by PWNers Barb Cardell, Kat Griffith, Naina Khanna, Teresa Sullivan

TUESDAY, September 10th

Workshop: Women and HIV Prevention Research: How is the HIV Prevention Trials Network Working to Bridge Gaps in Research for Women in the United States and Around The World?

8:30am-11:30am, Strand 10A, Level 2

Description:  What are the universal gaps in the treatment cascade for women? What policy changes may help reduce new infections and curb the epidemic among women at risk for HIV? Participants in this seminar will be provided with an overview of HPTN research and gain valuable insight into the interventions that have been tested and those that may be applicable to their local communities. Among the topics to be discussed: community wide test and linkage to care research; structural interventions; including financial incentives; as well as areas of research for women that need additional attention.

Organized by: HIV Prevention Trials Network.  Featuring Q & A with panelists including Dazon Dixon Diallo of Sisterlove, Inc, Deidre Grant from AVAC, and Naina Khanna from PWN-USA

 

Documentary film premiere: More Harm Than Good

Description: The film will be premiering and discussing the negative public health effects of HIV criminalization. There will be some time/space for anti-criminalization advocates to discuss and strategize.

Featuring: Edwin Bernard and Nick Feustel

Wednesday, September 11th

Seminar: HIV Justice: the ‘disabling’ legal environments faced by people living with and affected by HIV in Canada and the US

8:30-11:30am, Bolden 3, Level 2

Description: This seminar will use films, personal testimony, research results, a case study of PLHIV-led advocacy, and audience discussion to share information about the current status and effects of HIV-related criminal laws in the US and Canada and to engage in critical conversations about the HIV community response. There will be a screening of Positive Women: Exposing Injustice as part of this seminar. Featuring: Laurel Sprague, Jessica Whitbread, Robin Webb, Richard Elliot, Robert Suttle, Tami Haught

PWN-USA Announces the Next Chapter in our Development as an Independent Organization

Feb. 6, 2013

Dear community,

XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) Washington D.C. WE CAN END AIDS MARCH © IAS/Deborah W. Campos – Commercialimage.net

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).

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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,

PWN-USA leadership

Dawn Averitt
Dee Borrego
Gina Brown
Barb Cardell
Sharon Decuir
Yolanda Diaz
Cathy Elliott
Jane P. Fowler
Kat Griffith
Andrea L’amour Harrington
Margot Isaacs
Vanessa Johnson
Loren Jones
Pat Kelly
Naina Khanna
Barbara Marcotte
Pat Migliore
LaTrischa Miles
Sonia Rastogi
Linda H. Scruggs
Nicole Seguin
Waheedah Shabazz-El
Teresa Sullivan
Evany Turk
Juanita Williams