TheBody.com: Take Action: Kill the AHCA Before It Kills Us!
AIDS United blog: First-Time Peek from the Hill at AIDSWatch 2017
AIDS United blog: All Women, All Rights at AIDSWatch 2017
South Florida Gay News: Bill to Modernize HIV Criminalization Makes Progress
TheBody.com: Colorado HIV Advocacy Day: Success!
TheBody.com: All Women, All Rights at AIDSWatch 2017
TheBody.com: Who Would Have Thought?
AIDS United blog: Positive Organizing Shero, Teresa Sullivan
US News & World Report: California Lawmakers Want to Repeal HIV Criminalization Laws
Sacramento News & Review: HIV and Punishment
San Francisco Chronicle: As HIV Landscape Shifts, Move to Rethink Laws on Transmission
Final Call: Black Women Still Stalked by HIV and AIDS
Bay Area Reporter: Bill Would Amend State’s HIV Criminal Statutes
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: CA Politicians Announce Bill to Modernize State’s Discriminatory HIV Criminalization Laws
Plus Mag: Aging with HIV: Asha Molock
Bay Area Reporter: Time to Amend CA HIV Penal Codes, Say Lawmakers
California Healthline: Bill Aims to Decriminalize HIV Transmission
South Florida Gay News: California Bill Seeks to Modernize HIV Laws
AIDS United blog: What Inspired Me to Become an HIV Advocate
National Health Law Program: Protect Medicaid Funding: Women Living with HIV, Issue 7
Plus Mag: Valentine’s Day: Loving with HIV
TheBody.com: Get FACTS, Not #AlternativeFacts
Bay Area Reporter: California Has HIV Criminalization Laws that Are Not Good for Public Health
BABES Network blog: Peer Advocate Shares Her Experience in DC for World AIDS Day!
My Fabulous Disease blog: Fighting Trump: HIV Advocates to Watch in 2017
The Seattle Lesbian: Fighting Trump: HIV Advocates to Watch in 2017
TheBody.com: Join Me in Fighting for Racial Justice
TheBody.com: 2017: Ready for the Fight of Our Lives
TheBody.com: U.S. Network of Women Launches #HIVResists
TheBody.com: Anti-Racism and White Women Living with HIV
Channel 9 News Denver: Women Share HIV-Positive Stories Publicly
ABC7 Suncoast News: World AIDS Day 2016 in Sarasota
TheBody.com: A Price Too High–Speak Out Now!
TheBody.com: Rest in Power, Patricia Williams
TAGG Magazine: Being Transgender and Facing Trauma in Airports
TheBody.com: The End of AIDS? Advocacy in 2016 and Beyond
TheBody.com: Remembering a Sister: Channing Celeste Wayne
TheBody.com: I (Still) Believe that We Will Win
TheBody.com: Trans Resistance & Resilience in Changing Times
TheBody.com: Ending HIV Stigma
New Orleans Times-Picayune: “We’re people first”: Diagnosed 22 years ago, advocate promotes HIV/AIDS education
Tallahassee Democrat: Living with HIV: My Old Normal
PrideSource: Positive Thoughts: A Sense of Community
TheBody.com: Health Care at Risk
TheBody.com: Women Living with HIV Are Leading the Way
NCAAN.org: My Time at SPEAK UP! 2016
TheBody.com: Factsheet: Criminalization as Violence Against Women
TheBody.com: My Take on the Violence
TheBody.com: It’s Time for Change
AIDS United Blog: Celebrating Positive Women’s Leadership
POZ: Working the Room
TheBody.com: HIV Is Not a Crime: Building a Movement
Westside Gazette: HIV Rapidly Becoming a Disease of Young People
TheBody.com: From Misinformation to Resorative Justice: Christian Hui on Tackling Criminalization (HINAC)
South Florida Gay News: The HIV Is Not a Crime National Training Academy
Seattle Children’s Hospital Pulse: New Hope for HIV Treatment
KOMO 4 News Seattle: Advances in Immunotherapy May Help Treat HIV
Greater Than AIDS: Empowered: Trans Women & HIV
Positively Aware: Can Older People Get Some…Satisfaction?
TheBody.com: Grieving Orlando
TheBody.com: HIV Survivors Need Support, Not Jail Cells
A&U Mag: Julie Graham: Advocate
Well Beyond HIV: I Want to Let Other Women Know
Instinct Magazine: Hillary Clinton Calls for End to HIV Criminalization
South Florida Gay News: HIV Is Not a Crime Event Starts May 17
LGBTQ Nation: Hillary Clinton: HIV Is Not a Crime
Logo TV NewNowNext: Hillary Clinton Calls for End to HIV Criminalization Laws
Unicorn Booty: What Will HIV Reform Look Like Under Clinton?
Alabama Public Radio: AIDS Advocates Meeting Today in Huntsville
POZ magazine (print edition June 2016): Surveying the Needs of Women with HIV
TheBody.com: Finding My Voice as a Woman Living with HIV
Out Magazine: Hillary Clinton: HIV/AIDS Are Still with Us, We Still Have Work to Do
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: Bill Passes in CA to Allow HIV-Positive Organ Donation
Gay Star News: It’s Now Legal to Donate HIV-Positive Organs in California
Plus Magazine: California Governor Signs Historic HIV Bill
The Well Project: Why Race Matters
Positively Aware Mag: Caring about HIV Criminalization
TheBody.com: Living with HIV: Turning Points
My Fabulous Disease (Mark King’s blog): The Comfort of Blaming Other People for New HIV Cases
TheBody.com: Where Women with HIV Find Their Voice
Huffington Post: Scary Statistics about Women and HIV
Hello Beautiful: What Black Women Living with HIV Want You to Know
Al Jazeera English “The Stream”: Aging with HIV
Washington Blade: The ‘Mystery’ Behind Clinton’s HIV Gaffe
San Diego Union-Tribune: Advocating for Those with HIV/AIDS
Proof Positive Radio Show (New Orleans): Interview with Rachel Moats
Philadelphia Gay News: Criminal Charges Against HIV-Positive Nurse Withdrawn
Real Health Magazine: What One Thing Would Help Women with HIV Stay in Care?
San Francisco Chronicle: For Many Women, HIV Is Byproduct of a Lifetime of Trauma
AIDS United Blog: AIDSWatch, Advocates & Activists: More Important than Ever
PBS Independent Lens: Wilhemina’s War
POZ magazine: Black Lives Matter
The Daily Beast: The HIV Drug Half a Million Women Need
My Fabulous Disease blog: 16 HIV Advocates to Watch in 2016
TheBody.com: Organizational Sign-On: Demand the Entertainment Industry Do More in Supporting & Protecting Its Workers Living with HIV
Charleston City Paper: Workers March for Higher Wages Outside Democratic Debate
Washington Blade: In Dem Primaries, HIV Criminalization Remains an Orphan Issue
Women’s Health magazine (Rachel Moats’s story): This Is What It’s Really Like to Live with HIV
TheBody.com: Join the Counter Conference at NHPC
A&U Magazine: Red, White & U
CNN Health: Who’s Being Treated for HIV and Who’s Not
PBS NewsHour: Ending HIV May Hinge on Erasing Economic Disparities
AIDS United blog: Empowering Women to End HIV & Intimate Partner Violence
Futures Without Violence blog: How to Support Women Living with HIV on World AIDS Day
HIVE blog: Empowered Watch Party + Panel Discussion
POZ.com: POZ 100
Ravishly.com: World AIDS Day: HIV and American Women
AIDS United blog: Can I Count on You?
HIVEqual.org: The Connection Between Women with HIV and Domestic Abuse
Plus Magazine: Breaking the Silence, Breaking Out of the Violence
Poz.com Newsfeed: 2015 Day of Action to End Violence Against WLHIV
Lambda Legal blog: Commemorating the National Day of Action to End Violence Against WLHIV
The Feminist Wire: Self-Determination and the Struggle to End Violence Against WLHIV
Edge Media Network News: National Day of Action to End Violence Against WLHIV
National Women’s Health Network website: Help End Violence Against WLHIV!
Women with a Vision website: WWAV Statement in Support of the National Day of Action to End Violence Against WLHIV
Futures Without Violence blog: Guest Blogger: Supporting Women with HIV/AIDS
The Well Project website: One out of Two Women Living with HIV Experiences Intimate Partner Violence: The Intersection of Violence, Trauma and WLHIV
AIDS United Policy Blog: Day of Action to End Violence Against WLHIV
TheBody.com: Women, HIV and Intimate Partner Violence
TheBody.com: Advocates Take Aim at ‘Targets’ of Updated NHAS
TheBody.com: Networks Led by People with HIV Resurge in US
POZ.com: Trauma & HIV
“Our Voices” – Four PWN-USA leaders featured on the official Office on Women’s Health website for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, March 10, 2015
“Christie’s Place not only offered me services, but a sense of belonging, openness, acceptance, compassion, and understanding. I knew that I needed to be in a place like this, and vowed to help others so they wouldn’t feel trapped and isolated, as I once did. Now I am a full-time Retention in Care Peer Navigator at Christie’s Place.” In Heather’s voice
Vickie Lynn, PWN-USA Member, Florida
“At one time, I thought that helping one life at a time was what I wanted to do, yet today I know that by following my dreams and doing research, I have the potential of helping to improve hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.” In Vickie’s voice
“I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and HIV was simply the catalyst that helped me to become this amazing advocate for people living with HIV.” In Rachel’s voice
“I’m still in the fight to end the spread of HIV/AIDS and improve awareness and treatment, with a particular focus on women and young girls. The future of our nation depends on it.” In Rose’s voice
“As one of 25 members of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), Gina Brown brings the voices of Southern African-American women living with HIV/AIDS to top U.S. policymakers.” Read more
“As women speak for ourselves and we’re heard, we find that so much can change in our lives. We realize that perhaps abusive situations and a lack of quality health care are no longer things we’re willing to live with.” Read more
“Misinformation can be the enemy of hope when people are trying to make change, whether in their individual lives or at the broader public level. Using imprecise language to describe people living with HIV is an assured way of fostering fear and discrimination.” Read more, including quotes from PWN-USA founding member and staffer Waheedah Shabazz-El, and PWN-USA members Vickie Lynn and Valerie Wojciechowicz
Words to Live By: Philadelphia Activist Asha Molock Turns Her Positive Thoughts into an Inspirational Book for People Living with HIV, A&U Magazine, February 5, 2015
“This sharp, sexy, and vibrant sixty-four-year-old defies the term ‘senior citizen’ and refuses to dwell in the past. She isn’t looking in the rear-view mirror; she is only looking forward.” Read more
Common Threads: An Integrated HIV Prevention and Vocational Development Intervention for African American Women Living with HIV/AIDS, Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Vol. 7 (2014); Issue 7
Congratulations to PWN-USA staff member and Common Threads founder Vanessa Johnson and her co-authors from the National Working Positive Coalition and other institutions, who are broadening the research and attention on the benefits of economic justice interventions by and for women with HIV. Read the abstract and download the full article
“HIV stigma is more complicated than just HIV. HIV stigma is also homophobia. It is also racism. It is also prejudice against and caused by dislike of sex workers and drug users,” says PWN-USA Executive Director Naina Khanna. Read more
From Darkness to Light: A Journey to Healing, by Houston PWN-USA Member Venita Ray, OutSmart Houston, January 1, 2015
“This is a story about hope, change, and transformation. Change, for me, is usually motivated by insight or pain. In my case, HIV was the catalyst.” Read more
“Although technically an awareness campaign and not a fundraiser, the Positive Women’s Network — United States of America (PWN-USA) teamed up with Merck to launch ‘I Design,’ a national HIV educational campaign.” Read more
“The Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) AIDS Philanthropy Summit convened in Washington, D.C., in the midst of daily vigils and marches calling for justice in the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others. So TheBody.com took a moment to ask conference attendees how policing practices in the U.S. affect the HIV epidemic.” Read more, featuring quotes from PWN-USA Executive Director Naina Khanna and other insightful allies
“Reproductive justice provides an intersectional analytical framework that allows us to interrogate interlocking systems of power, and to address the root causes and the distributive impact of oppressive sexual and reproductive health policy, law, and culture on the lives of people living with HIV.” Read more by co-author Nerissa Irizarry, PWN-USA’s 2014-15 Reproductive Justice and HIV Legal Fellow
“There is a long history of public health measures being used to harm vulnerable people.” Read more, featuring quotes from PWN-USA’s Naina Khanna and Nerissa Irizarry
Local Perspective: “Yes, There Are People in Your State Living with HIV” AIDVu.org, October 29, 2014
AIDSVu is an interactive online map illustrating the prevalence of HIV in the US in stunning visual detail. In this blog entry, PWN-USA Board Chair and PWN-USA-Colorado leader Barb Cardell breaks down how this online mapping tool can be a powerful ally in advocacy. Read more
Study Shows (PTSD) Among Women Living With HIV May Be 5x That Of The General Population Of Women: A Q&A with PWN-USA’s Naina Khanna, VisualAids.org, October 26, 2014
“[Y]ou can’t take race and class out of the equation here. It’s no accident that most women with HIV in the US are women of color and low-income women, predominantly Black. The same women we’re not prioritizing in the HIV response are—guess what?— not prioritized in *any* response.” Read more
Gender-Based Violence is a Leading Cause of HIV in Women and We Need to Stop It, HIVPlus Magazine, October 23, 2014
“In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this month, the Positive Women’s Network-USA spearheaded a National Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV. That’s today. Both events are like National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, in that they all serve as a great reminder that any resolution to the problem of women and HIV belongs not just to governments, and public health workers, or non-profit organizations, but to people like us. And violence is a problem.” Read more
Was Cicely Bolden’s Murder the Ultimate Result of HIV Stigma? Experts Weigh In, HIVPlus Magazine, October 23, 2014
“The chance that Larry Dunn would get HIV from Cicely Bolden via vaginal penetration is slim: four in 10,000. But with misinformation and stigma around HIV, he thought he was dying. Here’s what the experts are saying about Larry Dunn’s murder confession and why matters to anyone who cares about HIV.” Read more, featuring quotes from PWN-USA’s Naina Khanna
“Said PWN-USA-Philadelphia Co-Chair LaDonna Boyens: ‘I have walked in the shoes of women survivors of violence; when they look at me and see the advocacy I’m doing now, they might think, Maybe I can do helpful things for someone else, too.'” Read more, including quotes from other PWN-USA leaders
Domestic Violence Affects Women Living with HIV at 2 Times National Rate; Trauma Complicates Treatment, Increases Infectiousness, AIDS United, October, 15, 2014
AIDS United hosts Congressional Briefing to raise awareness about and address the intersection of women, violence and HIV. Read more, including quotes from Congressional Briefing participant Naina Khanna
“The original face of AIDS was that of a middle-class, often white, gay man living in New York or San Francisco. That picture has changed over time as people of color have become disproportionately affected by the epidemic. Today, the face of AIDS is black or Latino, poor, often rural — and Southern.” Read more, featuring quotes from PWN-USA-South Carolina member Deadra Malloy
Transgender Women Living With HIV: New Study on Relationships Reflects Widespread Challenges, Reinforces Why Policies Must Change, TheBody.com, September 10, 2014
“Stigma, discrimination and financial hardship experienced by one partner frequently affected physiological well-being and relationship quality for both partners.” Read more, featuring quotes from PWN-USA members and leaders Dee Borrego and Cecilia Chung
“No group is more affected by HIV than African-Americans, yet blacks and Hispanics are poorly represented in HIV and AIDS medical studies.” Read more, featuring quotes from PWN-USA and Women’s Research Initiative member Gina Brown
People with HIV Suffer from Depression Caused by Shame, Trauma, Substance Abuse, HealthLine, September 2, 2014
“Women with HIV often face poor health outcomes, usually due to stigma, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Positive Women’s Network-USA.” Read more
“[HIV is] just a virus. I can’t let it stop me. I’m going to get everything I can get out of life.” Read more about PWN-USA-Philly leader Nancy Asha Molock, featured in an article about people diagnosed with HIV over 50
“[PWN-USA] hosted a recent webinar entitled Advancing Economic Justice and Employment Opportunities for Women Living With HIV, where Executive Director Naina Khanna called for a review of government policies requiring people living with HIV to keep their income under a certain level in order to qualify for subsidized medications and other benefits.” Read more
Merck’s HIV Campaign, I Design, Partners with Music Industry Promoter and HIV Advocate Maria Davis and Positive Women’s Network – USA to Encourage Women Living with HIV to be “Vocal” about their Treatment (PDF)
“Speaking Up” is Vital, Given the Significant Impact of the Disease on Women Read more
“HIV stigma among MSM is a hot topic, but stigma affects all groups, including women. ‘I’ve been living with HIV since 1993, and stigma hasn’t changed much,’ says Shari Margolese, a research consultant in Ontario, Canada, and a peer educator with the Positive Women’s Network (PWN), an international group. ‘People always want to know how you became positive. There has been a movement to define ‘good’ and ‘bad’ HIV-positive people.’
In 2013, PWN-USA released the findings of a study on gender-based stigma and violence. Margolese was one of the co-authors. Seventy-two percent of positive women surveyed experienced intimate-partner violence, as opposed to a quarter of all women. Seventy percent had been sexually assaulted, compared with 20 percent of all women. Many women also expressed changes in perceptions of their body image and sexual desirability.” Read more
“The desperate need for current information about HIV and for positive messaging to counteract HIV stigma, plus the fact that six in ten Americans say that most of what they know about HIV and AIDS comes from the media, made the television news report about A.F.’s arraignment all the more deplorable. The reporter buzzes that the complainant ‘asked [A.F.] if she was clean before they became intimate.’
The station’s unflinching adoption of this term blithely reinforces the notion that a person living with HIV is dirty, tainted, lesser.
It is this very devaluation of people living with HIV that was the direct cause of Elisha Henson’s death. In her honor, and in the honor of Cecily Bolden, who was killed by a lover nearly two years ago in Texas because of her HIV status, we must commit to do more and do better.
“Years in the making, the project aims to leverage the credibility of the church in the black community to attack a disease that disproportionately affects African Americans. … And now, Berkely-Patton and her colleagues are poised to take what could be the final step in what may become a tool for black churches across the country to address AIDS – as well as exploring whether the TIPS [Taking it to the Pews] model can help reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases within the black community. …
‘If we could organize around an issue as complex as this, with the stigma and the lack of education,’ [PWN-USA Board member LaTrischa Miles] said, ‘then I think we can tackle anything.'” Read more
“Over nearly 200 covers, POZ did something else: We charted the byways of the epidemic as it wended its way through the various (and often vulnerable and oppressed) communities affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world: gay and bisexual men, intravenous drug users, people with hemophilia, sex workers, African Americans and other people of color, prisoners, transgender people, etc. These individuals and communities were not only HIV’s targets but also its fiercest fighters.” Read more
“Earlier this year, School of Social Work graduate Kat Griffith, M.S.W. ’14, sat at a table in Washington, D.C., with policy makers, advocates and members of President Barack Obama’s administration, discussing the perils HIV-positive women face in abusive relationships.
‘In the world of HIV, we look at it so medically,’ said Griffith. ‘We think if we give everyone the pills, they will all survive just fine. But women are still dying because they are surrounded by violence. Their HIV might be in control, but their lives are not.’
For decades, Griffith has been an advocate bringing light to the intersection between HIV and women in abusive relationships. Her invitation to the White House is only one step in a battle that is deeply personal.” Read more
Why Now Is a Terrible Time to Disrupt Care for Women Living With HIV, RH Reality Check, May 16, 2014
“May 11-17 marks National Women’s Health Week, when the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health encourages women to get checkups and health screenings and build relationships with their health-care providers. Meanwhile, a significant source of care for women, infants, children, and youth living with HIV is under attack.” Read more
Stigma Drives Workplace Discrimination Against Workers Living With HIV, RH Reality Check, May 7, 2014
“Like [PWN-USA Board Chair Barb] Cardell, people who are HIV-positive from ‘every imaginable kind of job’ — including health care, food service, and law enforcement — have experienced workplace discrimination in one form or another.” Read more
Understanding the Promise: Considering the Experiences of Women Living with HIV to Maximize Effectiveness of HIV Prevention Technologies, Women’s Health Issues, March 2014
“Women are more than partners and mothers of children. Women’s needs are not well-served by plans in which they are present only by implication.” PWN-USA leaders and allies know that women living with HIV are a rich source of first-hand information regarding women’s HIV prevention and care needs — and that this resource is largely untapped. Now, evidence to support this knowledge has been published in the latest edition of Women’s Health Issues in an article researched and written almost entirely by women living with HIV! This publication is a major step forward in amplifying the voices of women living with HIV not only in advocacy, but in research as well. Read the abstract of the paper here and read the full manuscript here…
“African-American women are more impacted by HIV than women of any other race or ethnicity in the U.S. Yet when it comes to addressing their plight, it’s mostly men who call the shots and set the agenda. Meet five positive women from across the country who are committed to being a part of the solution, fighting for gender equity.
“They call themselves ‘Sisters of Change.’ As members of Positive Women’s Network-USA, they motivate women living with HIV to get involved in all levels of policy and decision-making. They’re raising their voices for women’s rights in the HIV-positive community, refusing to be counted out. In a no-holds-barred discussion, a group of female activists share their stories of surviving the past, embracing the present, and empowering themselves to change the course of the future.” Read more
Empowering Entrepreneurs: How an HIV intervention grew into a microenterprise, POZ Magazine, March 2014
“As she worked in the field, [Vanessa] Johnson observed that when women finally did come out to talk about their history, they didn’t talk about HIV specifically. Instead, she recalls, ‘when women told their stories, they talked about their childhood. And just like me, they suffered a lot of trauma in the form of abuse. I thought about it intuitively and was like, “This is a common thread.”‘
“Thus, in 2007 she launched Common Threads, what is now a five-day, small-group training session that she offers around the country. It’s designed to help HIV-positive women connect the dots between their life experiences and their positive status and then to increase their willingness to tell their stories and disclose their status to their families, friends and communities. It’s storytelling as a means for disclosure, self-empowerment, HIV prevention and activism.” Read more
“In the hazy and heady days of my early life as a person with HIV, I was filled with a passion to fight and rail against the injustices I was experiencing. I felt angry at everyone – at society, at my life, and especially about my ex who had infected me and condemned me to a different life than the one I had known before. …
“My anger convinced me to search out any legal protections or ramifications of my ex’s behavior. I wanted more than anything to find a way to find some sort of security in the law …
“Through my own education as an activist and HIV educator, and through my own lens as a Mexican-American, Jewish transwoman raised in a majority White, Christian environment, I’ve found that my perception and understanding of the application of law in modern American society is hideously biased.” Read more
Your Call: How Far Have We Come With HIV/AIDS Activism? KALW Public Radio San Francisco, January 30, 2014
Sean Strub, long-time gay rights and AIDS activist, author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival
Naina Khanna, executive director of Positive Women’s Network – USA. Listen to this interview
“As another legislative session gets underway, thousands of people will be there, pushing for new laws and policy. One woman, in particular, has spent many years fighting for change.
“Her story is so fascinating, she’s been called one of the top 100 unsung heroes of her cause. And in her words, she is traveling a most unlikely path.
“When you first meet Tami Haught, you get the impression she is exactly the person you want in your corner if you are in the fight of your life. And that’s what she does, fight, on behalf of Iowans living with HIV and AIDS.” Read more
“I work with the most badass and fierce group of women I have ever known. I have so much respect for every single one of them. They inspire me every day to not just keep in the work but to do it better, to do more or to do it differently.
“We want a world where women with HIV are valued, where there is justice for everyone with or vulnerable to HIV, and where our rights are upheld. As long as there are things like criminalization laws and discrimination of any kind against people with HIV, as long as there is gender inequality or there is violence, there will be a need to continue the work.” Read more
Building an Organized Voice for U.S. Women Living With HIV: Part One of a Two-Part Conversation, TheBody.com, December 2, 2014
“Female HIV advocates have been active in responding to the HIV epidemic since its earliest days. Yet there is a dearth of leadership by women, and especially women living with HIV, in HIV organizations and in the communities most greatly impacted by HIV. Enter the Positive Women’s Network of the United States of America (PWN-USA, or PWN), which formed in June 2008 — not only to prepare women living with HIV to be leaders, but to build the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the U.S., and to train a gender equality and human rights lens on the HIV epidemic as a whole. This year saw a milestone in PWN-USA’s development, when the network became an independent organization.
“In part one of this conversation, five women living with HIV who have been part of PWN-USA since its founding talk about how the network came to be, and the strides made in its first five years. Read part two of the discussion, in which these leaders map PWN-USA’s path forward in expanding its work and living its values — and what this will mean for U.S. women living with HIV in the years to come. Read more; read Part Two
HIV-positive women seek to reduce stigma: new report opens long overdue conversation for underserved community, Al Jazeera America, December 2, 2013
“The U.S. network of HIV-positive women (PWN-USA), a national organization for women living with HIV, has dedicated a new report to Bolden. Her murder brought to light a number of issues facing the 300,000 women in this country who live with HIV, including their disproportionate experience of violence at the hands of romantic partners. Bolden, 28, put a face on a population that bears the brunt of the epidemic: African-American women who account for two-thirds of new HIV cases among women in the U.S.
[…] “It’s commonly understood that gay men with HIV are having sex,” Khanna said. […] But similar conversations are not happening among HIV-positive women, which is why PWN-USA released its landmark survey assessing “the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women living with HIV in the U.S.” The study is based on questionnaires crafted by the research team that were then completed by HIV-positive women around the U.S.” Read more.
World AIDS Day 2013: Vanessa Johnson on motherhood, activism and HIV, the Grio, December 1, 2013
What does it mean to live with HIV? For Vanessa Johnson, it means gathering strength from family and friends, and to never give up on finding love …
“Because were were a heterosexual couple, it never occurred to [our doctors] that we might have HIV,” she says. “They kept telling us it was anything else but that: the measles, mononucleosis, just all kinds of things other than HIV.” Continue reading.
PWN-USA’s Response to Tyler Perry’s Film Temptation
An Open Letter to Tyler Perry from a coalition of advocates.
PWN-USA Press Release:
Tyler Perry’s “Temptation” Sentences People Living with HIV to a Lifetime of Stigma and Isolation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Waheedah Shabazz-El, Founding Member, firstname.lastname@example.org, (267) 231-2647
Sonia Rastogi, Communications Director, email@example.com, (408) 306-6805
April 16, 2013, New York, NY – “Tyler Perry’s Temptation left me emotionally pained, angry and disappointed. Mr. Perry, a brilliant film maker, missed a genuine opportunity for honest and accurate community education around HIV. Instead, Temptation perpetuated HIV sensationalism and stigma. It demonized people living with HIV as irresponsible and portrayed women who acquire HIV as an undesirable, reclusive, sub-species, destined to live out their lives in suffering commented Waheedah Shabazz-El, a woman living with HIV.
Two weekends and $212.7 million later, Tyler Perry’s film Temptation perpetuates the War on Women, fuels stigma and discrimination towards people of color and people living with HIV, and condones the belief that people living with HIV are sinners, who deserve punishment. Read more here.
PWN-USA on BETAblog: National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2013
by Reilly O’Neal, San Francisco AIDS Foundation Political leaders and medical and service providers have a part to play in employing these new tools to help reduce HIV stigma and discrimination. “The conversations that providers and policymakers should now be having are: ‘Given the new science, what is my role in normalizing a discussion of sex, sexuality, and reproduction that is evidence-based and affirming of people living with HIV?’” Read more…
PWN-USA in the Media: Feminism Should Be Inclusive and Flexible, NY Times February 18, 2013
By Dani McClain, a Nation Institute fellow reporting on reproductive health and sexuality
To understand where feminism is headed, look to today’s reproductive justice movement. Check out the Mother’s Day cards celebrating nontraditional families that took the Internet by storm last year. Talk to the network of H.I.V.-positive women determined to shape the policies that affect them. Efforts like these are winning hearts and minds because they acknowledge what many of us have long known: An individual’s ability to chart her own course is intimately tied to what’s happening in her family and community. Read more.
World AIDS Day 2012 on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show
Check out PWNer Sonia Rastogi speak on prevention justice, violence against women, and economic justice! Watch the video here.
Securing Care for Women Living with HIV: Challenges and Solutions for HIV-positive Women, Positively Aware, Sept/Oct 2012 Issue
By Naina Khanna
Five years ago, women had the dubious distinction of surpassing men as the majority of people in the world living with HIV. And in some countries, including Cambodia, Mozambique, and Rwanda, women now comprise nearly two-thirds of people living with the virus.
In the U.S., the HIV epidemic looks very different. Women comprise over a quarter of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S.—not including transgender women, for whom no accurate data are available. […] Data from 2012 show that in the District of Columbia, rates of new HIV diagnosis among black women have doubled. In Maryland, 35% of all AIDS diagnoses are among women, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 36.4% of people with an AIDS diagnosis were women in 2009. […] Let’s be clear: this is not a numbers game anyone wants to win.”
Read the full article here…
The Female Face of HIV: ‘We don’t have to care for ourselves,’ NBC News, July 24, 2012
By Maggie Fox
“Another factor may be domestic abuse. A team at the University of California San Francisco published a study on Monday showing that physical and sexual abuse and trauma are major factors affecting which women become infected.
‘For a long time we have been looking for clues as to why so many women are becoming infected with HIV and why so many are doing poorly despite the availability of effective treatment,” said Dr. Edward Machtinger, who led the study. “Women who report experiencing trauma often do not have the power or self-confidence to protect themselves from acquiring HIV.'”
Read the full article here…
Domestic Violence Doubles Risk of Death for HIV+ Women, POZ Treatment News, July 31, 2012
By Laura Whitehorn
“Naina Khanna, the US-PWN coordinator and policy director at WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Disease), who moderated the [AIDS 2012] press conference, said, ‘Five years ago women had the dubious distinction of surpassing men in the world in HIV. Increasing evidence suggests gender-based violence is a major reason for this distinction.’ ”
Read the full article here…
Guest Blog on The Feminist Wire: Creating a Biological Underclass: A Reality of Poverty for HIV+ Women, May 4, 2012
By Sonia Rastogi
“The same women who experience homelessness, sexual and/or intimate partner violence, surveilling of our bodies because of our gender identities, trepidation if we live in highly policed communities, and criminalization because of the color of our skin, who we love, and our immigration status are the same women who are disproportionately affected by HIV. One cannot separate HIV from the reproductive justice movement, the labor movement, or any other movement for that matter. Our movements must be integrated! Our push towards integration must be verbalized! And all women’s lives and bodies must be accounted for!” Read the full article here…
NEWS FLASH: health care services are changing for people living with HIV
January 17, 2011: Healthcare reform may have unintended consequences for HIV/AIDS patients by Mary Flynn on HealthyCal.org
Featuring PWNer Loren Jones and Sonia Rastogi – “Loren Jones was diagnosed with HIV 28 years ago. A relatively low viral load meant that for a long time, Jones, a 59-year-old African American woman, didn’t feel sick at all. “I ignored it completely,” she says of the first few years of her illness.” Read more.
January 20, 2011: Medicalizing HIV: Will Social Services Get Squeezed Out? by Zaineb Mohammed on New American Media
Featuring PWNer Loren Jones and allies Dr. Monica Gandhi – “Major medical breakthroughs over the past year in the treatment of HIV/AIDS are setting off some surprising alarm bells. While praised for their life-saving potential, they are causing a change in the dynamics of HIV/AIDS care – a shift that may squeeze out social services needed to support patients while they’re in treatment.” Read more.
World AIDS Day 2011 & Count Us In! campaign launch
On December 1st, 2011, U.S. Positive Women’s Network launched Count Us In!, a national campaign focused on upholding the rights of women living with HIV to achieve high-quality health care. PWNers across the country launched the campaign in their communities from Detroit, MI to Fort Collins, CO. In Oakland, CA the campaign launched with a press conference featuring Mayor Jean Quan, the Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and the Office of Assembly Member Sandre Swanson.
Click to listen (or download)
Click to listen (or download)
Hard Knock Radio with Anita Johnson
“HIV+ Women in Oakland Demand, ‘Count Us In,'” New American Media featuring PWNer Sonia Rastogi
“Spiral of invisibility hides the continuing peril of AIDS in Silicon Valley,” San Jose Mercury News featuring PWNer Naina Khanna and WORLD Executive Director Cynthia Carey-Grant
“Oakland Women’s Group to Kick Off New Campaign on World AIDS Day,” Oakland North featuring PWNer Sonia Rastogi
“AIDS Day a time to remember, time to talk,” Galesburg News featuring PWNers Kat Griffith
“Michigan Health depts targeting HIV-positive women unfairly, experts say,” the Wasington Informer featuring PWNer Nicole Seguin
Giving Advocates a Voice: An Update with PWN in BETA Magazine
Philadelphia ACTUP chapter going strong
“Waheedah Shabazz-El is a 58-year-old heterosexual African American Muslim woman from Overbrook who discovered she was HIV positive while in prison in 2003.
She also is a member of the official U.S. delegation to the United Nations’ high-level meeting that this week will test the extent of the world’s commitment to ending AIDS.
In who she is and how far she has come, Shabazz-El represents the trajectory of an epidemic that has infected more than one million Americans and 60 million people worldwide – and triggered powerful advocacy forces that have changed medicine and culture – since a weekly federal report first described a mysterious disease in five gay men 30 years ago on Sunday.”
30 years of HIV: AIDS in the ’90s: ‘I wasn’t going to die miserably’
June 1, 2011 – PWN Founding Member Linda Scruggs talks with CNN about her experiences living with HIV as part of CNN’s 30 years of AIDS Coverage series. June 5, 2011 marks 30 years since the first case of HIV recorded. Linda is a powerful and courageous leader who discusses her journey living with HIV and her inspiration to serve women, youth and families.
May 17, 2011 – In honor of National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on May 19th, 2011, The Banyan Tree Project, an HIV anti-stigma campaign, and Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center hosted a press conference on A&PI women and HIV. PWNer Sonia Rastogi spoke on the press conference panel about the barriers to testing, treatment and care for A&PI women.
The Princess Warrior: One Woman’s Battle for Survival and How It Has Made Her Stronger
May 5, 2011 – Positively Aware, the HIV Treatment Journal of the Test Positive Aware Network, features Barb Marcotte, PWN Steering Committee Member, who discusses her battle with HIV and the fight that needs to happen!
“I am 43 years old now. It is time to change these thoughts and behaviors. Truth is, I know I am a sexy, strong woman—a true DIVA living with HIV. I know deep down, that fight is still there. It has been buried under a lot of shit for years, but I am there. The real me.” – Barb Marcotte
Poz Profiles: 31 at 30 with LaTrischa Miles
June issue – To commemorate 30 years of HIV, June’s feature issue of POZ Magazine is “31 Long-Term Survivors for 30 years of AIDS.” PWN Advisory Group Member LaTrischa Miles from Kansas City Free Clinic discusses about her experiences and provides a beacon of hope for all. Read the full article here.
“This Positive Life” video series from theBody.com: An Interview with Dee Borrego
April 2011 – Each month theBody.com posts videos from This Positive Life, a monthly videos series that interviews with people living with HIV to talk about their experiences giving you the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of what it means to live — and live well — with HIV. Check out April’s interview with Dee Borrego, one of PWN’s Founding Members. PWN thanks theBody.com for it’s phenomenal work!
2011 Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
“A survivor’s story: Life beyond an HIV diagnosis”
March 10, 2011: Acintia Wright featured on CBS 8 evening news, San Diego, CA
2011 Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
PWN-Philadelphia chosen to represent HIV+ women; Philadelphia Mayor’s recognition
In recognition of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s 12 Cities initiative, Community Education Group, founded by A. Toni Young, launched “It’s Time for Action” for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a nation-wide campaign taking place in 12 U.S. cities to reflect the urgent response required to combat the epidemic among women and girls. The PWN-Philadelphia chapter was chosen as the sponsoring organization in Philadelphia to represent women and girls on this day. In addition, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter officially recognized WGHAAD on behalf of PWN-Philly’s efforts.
Read about PWN-Philly | Read more about the “It’s Time for Action” and the 12 Cities Initiative here
“The truth is, we do know which women are most likely to acquire HIV. All women may be at risk, but low-income women — especially black and Latina women in major urban areas with high HIV rates — have a much greater risk of HIV infection.”
– Naina Khanna
Women and HIV: A Nuanced Epidemic by Naina Khanna, Achieve: a joint publication of ACRIA and GMHC, Summer 2010