SERO Project & PWN-USA Announce 2016 HIV Is Not a Crime National Training Academy

HIV Is Not a Crime Conference in Grinnell, Iowa, 2014
HIV Is Not a Crime Conference in Grinnell, Iowa, 2014


Contact: Tami Haught,

November 12, 2015:  After a very successful inaugural HIV Is Not a Crime National Conference last year, the SERO Project and Positive Women’s Network-USA are pleased to announce that the planning process is underway for a second national conference to support repeal and modernization of laws criminalizing HIV non-disclosure, perceived or potential exposure and transmission, to be held in June 2016.

HIV is Not a Crime II, to be held in June 2016, will unite and train advocates living with HIV and allies from across the country on laws criminalizing people living with HIV and on strategies and best practices for repealing such laws. Skills-building training, with an emphasis on grassroots organizing, advocacy, coalition-building and campaign planning, will leave participants with concrete tools and resources to work on state-level strategies when they return home.

For this training academy, organizers will also emphasize movement building with other decriminalization and criminal justice reform groups.  “It’s time to look at the whole context of mass incarceration, racist policing practices, drug policy, sex work policies, and the ways that LGBT and immigrant folks are disproportionately vulnerable in criminalization proceedings, as we consider strategies for repeal and modernization,” says Naina Khanna, executive director of Positive Women’s Network – USA.

Advocates say last year’s conference invigorated on the ground rights-based advocacy led by communities living with and impacted by HIV.  “Last year’s HIV is Not a Crime Conference was great because it brought together advocates and people working on changing HIV criminalization laws to brainstorm best practices for people to take home to implement a plan for their state. This was incredibly helpful for us in Tennessee, and really gave us the boost we needed to work on our plan to change the laws here,” states Larry Frampton of Tennessee AIDS Advocacy Network.

“The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance is thrilled to be part of this process again that prioritizes PLHIV, builds power, and ultimately pushes the momentum from the first HIV is Not a Crime conference and this past year in a concerted organizing effort to end these laws across the U.S. in 2016,” says Suraj Madoori, manager of the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance.

“I thought last year’s conference was one of the best discussions in HIV in a long time.  It was very powerful to participate in a conference organized by people living with HIV and to hear about their personal experiences around disclosure, prosecution and criminalization,” commented Marsha Martin, Director of the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS). “We have to take on criminalization if we are going to bring about an end to the epidemic. That’s why continuing conferences like this one is so important–and necessary.”

“HIV is Not a Crime II will provide an opportunity for people living with HIV and their closest allies to define their priorities and agenda, educate and mobilize each other and their communities, and further strengthen the community of PLHIV advocates.  Michael Callen, one of the authors of the Denver Principles, used to say there was a ‘special magic’ when people with HIV worked together to organize and that is as true today as it was 30 years ago,” states Sean Strub, Executive Director of SERO Project.

Get involved in making the HIV is Not a Crime National Training Academy a success!  

The planning partners are currently seeking volunteers for five workgroups, as well as financial support for the conference. To read about and join a working group, click here.

Are you interested in providing financial support for this important event? Please contact Sean Strub, SERO Project or Naina Khanna at Positive Women’s Network – USA for more information.

Questions? Please contact Tami Haught, SERO Organizer and Training Coordinator.

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 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


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:

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