February 14, 2012
Oakland, Calif. -- Showing your love for women living with HIV means supporting our right to our sexuality. This is Valentine's Day, Count HIV+ Women In! All HIV+ women, including trans women, have the right to enjoyable, hot and safe sex lives, female-controlled methods to prevent transmission, safety to choose when and how to disclose to partners and relationships free from violence.
U.S. Positive Women's Network, a project of WORLD, celebrates Valentine's Day as a day to show your love for HIV+ women upholding our rights to safe and satisfying sexual lives.
Current shifts in HIV prevention and care, the War on Women, and HIV criminalization laws threaten HIV+ women's ability to control our own bodies and sexuality. For example, 36 states and 2 U.S. territories have HIV-specific criminal statutes in which HIV+ people have been arrested and/or prosecuted for consensual sex, biting, and spitting. These laws and practices violate our rights by unfairly policing our bodies and our sexuality, preventing disclosure for fear of persecution, and preventing people from getting tested.
Ending violence against women is critical to eliminating HIV transmission. "If you are worried about your safety, you are NOT having conversations about safer sex practices," says PWNer Kat Griffith in Peoria, Illinois. "Women's lives are complex, and the links between violence and HIV transmission run deep [...] this link can inform our research and prevention messages."
Trans women frequently cannot depend on the law to protect them from violence or to ensure access to culturally appropriate services. "Just because trans women don't fit into culturally predefined standards for male or female expression or behavior, doesn't mean that we lose the right to have an independent sexual identity. [...] [trans women] have the right to that individuality, just as we have a right to the air which fills our lungs," states PWNer Dee Borrego from Boston, Massachusetts.
Show your love for PWN this Valentine's Day by participating in our Safe Poz Love telebriefing on 2/14 from 9a-10:30a Pacific, reading our blogs, and using our talking points for your advocacy. Sign our Count Us In! petition. Follow and use the hashtags #safepozlove and #pwnusa to learn how you can support the rights of HIV+ women.