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Notes from Las Vegas Women's Conference

Spring 1999

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

"A Time for Healing" was the theme at the 4th Annual Women and HIV Conference held at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 3-5, 1999. The event, sponsored by The Clark County Coalition of HIV/AIDS Service Providers and the State of Nevada Dept. of Human Resources Health Division-HIV Prevention Program, was quite a success. Women (and a few men) from throughout the state of Nevada and also various parts of the country were among the attendees.

Not only was the program well organized and educational, but it was emotionally enriching for all who were there. As a woman living with HIV, I have attended my fair share of conferences. Most of them I found to be dull, and the material presented seemed to be in a foreign language. That was not the case at this conference.

The event staff made me feel welcomed and comfortable. The topics presented were relevant, interesting, and easy to understand. The general mood of the event was upbeat and hopeful, but there were also some tears shed as is always the case when the subject of HIV/AIDS is discussed. Between presentations, lunches and breaks were great times to network with other positive women, and also make new friends.


MasquerAIDS

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One of the highlights of the conference was the "MasquerAIDS" Dinner, Dance, and Silent Auction on Thursday evening. Under the theme of Mardi Gras, conference participants got a chance to eat, boogie, and also bid on some terrific items.


Mary Fisher

Other conference highlights included a touching Keynote address by Mary Fisher of the Family AIDS Network, enlightening presentations by Edith Springer ACSW of New York on Harm Reduction, and Valerie Martin CH, CDS of Florida on African American women and HIV. There was also a terrific presentation regarding Depression and HIV by Sandra Trisdale Ph.D of Arizona (Please see article in this issue). The last presentation of the conference was a very funny but poignant look at "Societal Scripting on Women's Decision Making" by fellow southern Californian Janis Martin CH, CDS. All conference presenters were very knowledgeable, approachable, and took time to answer questions from the audience. Everyone was very gracious, and my only regret is that I couldn't stay longer.


Thank You

Women Alive would like to extend a special word of thanks to conference organizer Pat Stachewicz, R.N. for inviting us to participate. We hope to see you all at the National Conference here in Los Angeles in Oct. 9-12, 1999.


Stigma

It never ceases to amaze me, that after 18 years of AIDS, positive people are still faced with stigmatization. The following letter appeared in POZ in 1997. Because this type of language is still being used, we felt it was worth repeating here. It also serves as a reminder to ourselves.

"Watch Your Language"

Would you please be careful about using such blaming language as "1,600 newborns are infected by their mothers each year?" It would be just as accurate to report that a number of women are infected by their philandering husbands, but it is more sensitively stated as "acquired through heterosexual sex." Using language that separates us who are HIV positive into "those to blame" and "those to feel sorry for" does nothing to help stop the spread of HIV. I don't want to see that kind of language used in POZ.

-- Dallas Texas

Poz Editors: Neither do we. We apologize.


A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.
 
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