Staying Positive: Women Living with HIV Speak Out Against Stigma

barb-kari-wad-2016December 1, 2016

by Barb Cardell and Kari Hartel, PWN-USA Colorado Co-Chairs

Last spring, the StoryCenter began to search the community in the Denver Metro-Area for partners to create some small videos of people living with HIV. PWN-USA Colorado’s co-chair, Kari Hartel, was able to attend an informational meeting and asked that a workshop be dedicated to women living with HIV. A month later, the Empowerment Program, a local agency that has been serving women, mostly those who are low-income and highly marginalized, joined in the collaboration; the Staying Positive project was born. Staff from Empowerment’s Women’s AIDS Project and PWN-USA Colorado began working with women living with HIV to identify those who wanted to participate in the StoryCenter workshop. There was so much excitement about the project that two workshops were created, one in May and one in July. 18 women living with HIV were able to participate and the Staying Positive project took flight.

These workshops were transformational for many members.  The process for each woman to create her own video from start to finish was very intensive and the bonds that were formed during the workshops will likely continue for a lifetime. We are so thankful to the StoryCenter for their amazing work in giving people a driver’s seat and a platform to tell their own stories.

This World AIDS Day 2016, we are excited to share the Staying Positive compilation video.  Over the next few weeks will share stories from this project on the PWN-CO Members & Allies Facebook page.  Tonight, we will be collaborating again with StoryCenter to screen many videos from the Staying Positive project in Denver (with a panel to follow).  We hope to continue expanding on the collection of videos in the coming years.  But today, World AIDS Day 2016, we acknowledge those we have lost to this virus and those who continue to thrive and strive for equity of those living with HIV. Enjoy the video (and those to come) and continue to love each other!

In Sisterhood and Solidarity,

Barb & Kari