Women Alive is proud to announce that we are now officially an organization run by and for women living with HIV/AIDS. Women Alive Coalition, Incorporated was cultivated from Being Alive; People with HIV/AIDS Action Coalition. Women Alive is today a community based membership coalition, of women facing AIDS.
Together we have created an organization where women facing HIV disease can come, where we are not clients, where we are not "case-managed" or psychoanalyzed, where we are not numbers, and we are not patients or research subjects.
We are simply women from a vast variety of life experiences with one commonality, and that is that AIDS has had a significantly profound and often devastating impact on our lives.
The incorporation of Women Alive Coalition marks the complete success of our work in building a community of women living with AIDS.
Our membership is comprised entirely of women who have HIV/AIDS. There are no dues or fees, the only requirement for full membership is testing positive for HIV or receiving an AIDS diagnosis. Honorary membership is offered to women who are immediately affected by AIDS, those with a partner or extended family member or friend who has been lost to AIDS or has HIV infection.
A Little History
Established in 1991, Women Alive was the vision of four women living with AIDS who were members of Being Alive. They felt the need to create a support network for themselves and other women like them to combat the alienation and isolation which women with HIV/AIDS often encounter. Their vision was to establish a Being Alive type organization by and for women. They saw that Being Alive had something that is not only unique but more significantly, something that works.
These women recognized that the support and opportunities for self-empowerment at Being Alive contributed in a real way to prolonging the lives of People with AIDS.
They believed that the medical and social services necessary to sustain the body in pain and disease could not substitute for the friendships and relationships of trust established among their peers, women themselves living with the virus. More importantly, they were convinced that meaningful activity, through employment or volunteer service, would be life-sustaining and extremely beneficial to the members of Women Alive.
As such, all our services and programs are designed to be delivered by women who are living with the disease.
The vision began to take shape. Throughout our history, the members of Women Alive have positively confirmed that the continuum of our programs -- from peer to peer counseling, social support activities, treatment education and advocacy, medical updates, leadership training, and newsletter production -- are the foundation of their ability to live productive and fulfilling lives, as well as their willingness to fight off disease, prolong good health, and maintain a sense of well being.
Being Alive realized the need for Women Alive to become completely self-governing and fully independent. Women Alive's fundamental goal of our vision materialized with the non-profit status of our own organization.
The constitution of Women Alive Coalition, Inc. clearly substantiates that women facing AIDS: can unquestionably and completely take command of their own lives; make informed decisions about their care and treatment; advocate on behalf of themselves and each other; speak to their own needs and concerns; and achieve their own goals and objectives.
To the membership of Women Alive: I commend your achievement in bringing hope and strength to several thousand women facing this disease. Your efforts in disseminating vital treatment information, providing support networks, treatment advocacy, and peer to peer counseling, makes life more fulfilling and manageable for all of us who are affected by AIDS.
You are the reason Women Alive exists. It is your courage, determination, and dignity in dealing with this virus that is the primary inspiration for the Women Alive Coalition.
Now, we have a place where we can come-together, be productive and helpful to others. By educating each other about HIV treatments, and encouraging supportive and sustaining relationships, we will continue to enrich and improve the quality of our lives.
I am very proud of Women Alive, and I want to thank the volunteers, the women, and the members of Being Alive who have all helped to make our vision a reality.
We will continue to work collaboratively with Being Alive and we will always remember where we came from and what we have learned from our gay brothers who are living with AIDS.
We look forward to a long productive and mutually beneficial relationship as sister organizations. We commend Being Alive for their cultural and gender sensitivity and their commitment to helping all people with AIDS from various cultures, ethnicity and genders. "Together We Are Making a Difference" -BA
Help Us Make a Difference
The Women Alive Newsletter invites YOU to publish your stories. We are very interested in hearing about your experiences with medications. If there is a story you can share which you think other readers will benefit from, please send it in. Please provide written consent to print your article and/or photograph.
Once an article is submitted to Women Alive it will be reviewed by the editorial team. The editorial team makes the final decisions as to what gets printed and what doesn't. Please do not send your only copy.
This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.