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Commemorating 20 Years of Saving Lives at Iris House

March 1, 2013

Iris De La Cruz

Iris De La Cruz

March 2, 1993. Iris House, a new center for Latina and African-American women diagnosed with AIDS opens its doors in East Harlem. This program came to fruition through nearly a decade of work by the Women and AIDS Working Group, and named for Latina HIV Activist Iris De La Cruz, who sadly would not live to see the doors of Iris House open to the women she was fighting to help.

With a staff of three, we began providing transitional services for women who were afraid of what would happen to their children and families when they died.

Twenty years later, Iris House has a staff of nearly 50 full time employees, and delivers a wealth of supportive services to women living with HIV/AIDS and their families and communities. We provide case management, connection to care, housing, food and nutrition, support groups and harm reduction programs. We provide prevention education and HIV and Hepatitis C tests to more than 3,000 people each year, advocate for our clients at local, state and national levels, and serve as thought leaders nationally on issues surrounding women and HIV.

Iris House will be commemorating this anniversary throughout the coming months, and we hope that you will join us at special events, testing days, open houses and more. We will be launching a new website and will keep our friends and family informed about the exciting plans for our work as we move into our third decade.

Iris De La Cruz was a force of nature, and we are grateful for her vision, her drive and her commitment to making sure the women of her community were not without options or resources. We honor her legacy today. video blogger Aaron Laxton reads "Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll and AIDS" by Iris De La Cruz, 1990

For more information about the programs of Iris House, visit us at

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