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People Living With HIV: A Year of Empowerment

November 15, 2016


Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D.

Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D.

United States People Living With HIV Caucus

The year 2016 has been a strange one in HIV. We had exciting news about the efficacy of treatment and we were recognized in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, yet our voices seem to be dimmed at HIV organizations, government agencies and even planning bodies.

We heard about "intersectionality" when doing advocacy and social justice work; never has that been more pronounced.

We had amazing meetings as people living with HIV in the United States. … We met each other at conferences, at community planning meetings, at advisory boards, at bars, at coffee shops, online, in waiting rooms -- everywhere.

As advocates, organizations and state agencies touted the "end of the epidemic" through plans, press releases, initiatives and media articles, I dealt with friends who were newly diagnosed, friends attempting to manage an overly bureaucratic and difficult public benefits system, friends who were between jobs or needed a place to stay, friends who were discovering mental illness, admitting to addiction and losing their relationships. I realized that, even if everyone had HIV treatment access and adherence, we would still need supportive services, still need each other -- to talk, to advise, to share, to bond, to love, to find a path through the precarity of our lives.

Read Andrew Spieldenner's full reflection on the year in empowerment for people living with HIV.

Credit: Positive Women's Network - USA.

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