About 12 years ago I spent three weekends over the course of six months at a grown-up sleep away camp that I called "anti-racism camp." The real name was even better. It was called "Doing Our Own Work" and it was an intensive reading, journaling, discussion and action program for white women who wanted to be actively anti-racist.
The incoming Trump administration and Congress have campaigned on promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. "Obamacare"), which has helped over 20 million Americans gain health care coverage as well as ensuring those of us with preexisting conditions are not discriminated against by insurance companies.
We are not just another case number. We are important to our communities.
You never know who you will run into sometimes, even at the doctor's office. I myself, as so many, live with my status. I don't want to say illness or disease, because both remind me of being sick.
With community events around the country happening from last week through the first week of November; a vibrant radio show on the theme hosted by PWN-USA Colorado member Pozitively Dee on Saturday; a Twitter chat scheduled for 2 PM ET today with special guest co-hosts from Christie's Place, Futures Without Violence, National Network to End Domestic Violence, The Well Project and the Women's HIV Program at UCSF (follow using the hashtags #EndVAWHIV and #pwnspeaks!); and at least two cities (Philadelphia and Houston) issuing proclamations for the Day of Action, our third annual Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV is shaping up to be another success.
I was thinking the same thing when I read about a Day of Action to End Violence Against Women. I was thinking: where is the solution? Being a woman who has experienced so much violence, you describe it beautifully well; however sad ... it's true. We wish to teach our children to stand up, to fight, to advocate for themselves. Then the reality of what you're up against becomes very real. A friend, a lover, someone you just met. That individual at some time decides for you it's time to pay for this friendship. I want you to love me. Love = Sex; (this is why I have so much trouble being in love with anything) you feel the rage roll off them; and to you it's delivered. Smothering you beneath the stench of lust, lunacy and fear. All the while being the slave to their desires and needs. To fight back may be easier and sometimes to live you let it play out. Pain, disgust, the fear, my stomach hurts so bad; my head is spinning. I can't die like this. Endurance and perseverance are what get me through in order to arrive back where I started with yet another deep wound from battle. Smiling and acting as if it were just a nightmare. As you help others forgetting your pain you grow a little more insane each day. I use insanity because if you look up the word insanity it is doing the same thing over and over trying to reach a different outcome.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, people with HIV and allies have had to save our own lives. We have educated, fought and held accountable our medical providers, federal health departments, big pharma, the justice department and the many people and institutions that threatened our survival. The struggles continue today, and in virtually every space, I've come to recognize it's the women of Positive Women's Network - USA who are leading the way.
Months of planning and preparation from PWN-USA's Summit Planning Committee, Board, staff and presenters paid off last month, as 250 women living with HIV from 29 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada came together in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, for SPEAK UP! 2016 National Leadership Summit for Women Living with HIV.
Those of us living with or affected by HIV have a common goal in mind: to eradicate transmission of HIV. So, why are HIV transmissions rates on a steady rise with each passing year?
We are heartbroken by the recent tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida which killed 49 people, the majority of whom were Latinx and other LGBTQ people of color.
I am always telling women that you must make up your mind about how you feel being positive. If you don't have a good mental attitude about being positive, then you will never begin to live your best life while living with HIV.
The Positive Women's Network of the United States of America (PWN-USA) is a network of HIV+ women and allies organizing and advocating for our rights -- and blogging all along the way.
If you are an HIV+ woman or support the rights of HIV+ women, join PWN-USA as a member or ally today!
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