The Women's Collective (TWC) is a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., created by a woman living with HIV/AIDS and run by women living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS and their advocates. The mission of TWC is to reduce the risk of HIV and other STDs faced by low-income women and girls, with an emphasis on women of color, to reduce barriers to care for women and girls, and strengthen their network of support and culturally appropriate services.
The Women's Collective offers women, girls, and families a variety of services, including medical case management, HIV counseling and testing, prevention with positives, among many other direct supportive services with the goal of ensuring access to and retention in health care and treatment while improving their health outcomes. TWC also uses its unique position as a direct service provider to promote policy and advocacy with and on behalf of women and girls by offering advocacy training and opportunities.
The Women's Collective model considers that the needs of women and girls may be different from those of other populations. For instance, TWC has a culturally competent staff, knowing that women and girls living with or at risk for HIV often are more comfortable receiving services from members of their own peer group. TWC is woman- and girl-focused, peer-based, family-centered, with the belief that supporting the family is another way of supporting women and girls in improving their health outcomes and quality of life. TWC has a vision and a mission that inspires, challenges, and engages, women and girls.
The work of The Women's Collective shows how one person can make a difference in the lives of many. On New Year's Eve 1986, Patricia Nails was a married mother of three. The next day, as the year changed, so would the direction of her life. On that New Year's Day, Patricia's husband, Lenny, died of AIDS two months after being diagnosed, and Patricia, who was also HIV positive, was suddenly a single mother of three. Six months later, Patricia would lose another member of her family to AIDS -- a daughter, age 3, who had been born with the virus.
Weighing only 80 pounds and on disability, Patricia went through what she calls an "isolation" period, and for a while, she too, waited to die. Eventually, she started to attend support groups, but in some cases, she was the only woman there and the issues she faced were entirely different from those of the men. So in 1992, Patricia took matters into her own hands. She put up a flyer in her doctor's office and set up a private phone line in her home. She wanted to give women a place to call if they needed to voice their fears or ask questions. In the process helping others, Patricia started to regain her own health -- and her own desire to live.
The Women's Collective Web Site in English:
A summary of our work and resources for women
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The Women's Collective relies on individual donors, private foundations, corporations, and government funding to ensure our ability to implement programs and initiatives. With your support we will help provide vital care and prevention services, advocate with and on behalf of women for appropriate high quality care, further public awareness and education in fighting HIV and other STDs, and most importantly, ensure women regardless of status have the information and are empowered to protect their health and improve their quality of life. Donate here.
The Women's Collective
1331 Rhode Island Ave., NE
Washington, D.C. 20018