The Philadelphia chapter became the first PWN-USA regional chapter to successfully apply for a major grant with the award of $19,000 from the AIDS United Positive Organizing Project to provide a series of workshops and interventions to fight the use of stigmatizing language that leads to and reinforces discrimination and violence against people living with HIV, and, by tacitly discouraging testing, treatment and disclosure, actually hinders prevention efforts.
Says Teresa Sullivan, one of the founders of the PWN-Philly chapter and a current PWN-USA Board member, “HIV stigma keeps people from linking to health care. The consequences of HIV stigma and HIV discrimination are wide-ranging. Some people are shunned by family, peers and the wider community, while others face poor treatment in health care and education settings and the erosion of their human rights. We seek to promote and enhance the national ‘Stand up to HIV Stigma Project’ here in Philadelphia, and to enhance meaningful involvement of people with HIV in service organizations. Our project will be led by women living openly with HIV in Philadelphia.”