On World AIDS Day, Getting to Zero Discrimination: Women with HIV Call for an End to Violence

CONTACT: Sonia Rastogi, sbrastogi@gmail.com

December 1, 2013 Oakland, CA – “Violence takes many forms, including but not limited to physical and sexual violence. Violence includes laws that regulate our bodies and who we choose to love. Violence includes systems and structures that make us invisible – by categorizing transgender women as men who have sex with men. We must tackle violence against women and people living with HIV in all its complexity. This is the only way we can end it,” says Dee Borrego from Boston, MA.

On World AIDS Day 2013, Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA) calls for ending violence against women and upholding our full sexual and reproductive rights. PWN-USA’s recent report UNSPOKEN: Sexuality, Romance, and Reproductive Freedom for Women Living with HIV in the United States found that out of 179 women living with HIV in the US, 69% had been sexually assaulted and a third had been sexually assaulted before the age of 13. 72% of women were survivors of intimate partner violence or domestic violence.

According to Kat Griffith in Peoria, IL, “Trauma is the most difficult part of experiencing violence. Trauma can lead to devastation, hopelessness, and falling out of health care with ripple effects for indivudals, families and communities. Women living with HIV who are people of color, LGBTQ, poor, or politically marginalized are particularly vulnerable to the compounded effects of trauma following a lifetime of discrimination.”

PWN-USA envisions a world where women living with HIV can live long, healthy, dignified and productive lives, free from stigma and discrimination. Assessing the realities of women living with HIV is critical to ending violence.

As part of our commitment to ending violence, PWN-USA is proud to announce our collaboration with the Women’s HIV Program at the University of California – San Francisco, to develop and evaluate models of trauma-informed primary care. In 2014, PWN-USA will continue to advocate for policies and practices that improve the lives of women. Support our work. Check out our 2014-2016 strategic plan, stay connected (fb, @uspwn), and invest in our future.

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