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U.S. News

Georgia: SisterLove Marks 20 Years

July 28, 2009

SisterLove, an Atlanta-based nonprofit focusing on HIV/AIDS and reproductive issues for women, particularly women of color, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday with a special program at Spelman College.

The group also honored 20 women who have lived with HIV/AIDS for at least 20 years. At the time they were diagnosed, most known cases of the disease were among white, gay men and there were not many services for women.

"I definitely felt like I was the only woman," said Juanita Williams, who was diagnosed in 1989. "I didn't know anything about AIDS other than when you got it, you lost weight, you shamed your family, and you died."

SisterLove seeks to educate women about HIV/AIDS prevention and fight disease-related stigma and discrimination. The group's founder, Dazon Diallo, said actor Rock Hudson's disclosure in 1985 that he had AIDS encouraged her to get involved with HIV/AIDS-related work.

At that time, Diallo worked at a feminist health center in Atlanta, while volunteering for AID Atlanta, now one of Georgia's largest and oldest AIDS service organizations. AID Atlanta was beginning to receive more calls from women, and the organization "wanted to know what their response should be," she said. When the women's center cut their AIDS program, Diallo and several other women formed SisterLove.

Today, women represent about 25 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in Georgia, and 84 percent of these female cases are black, Diallo said.

Back to other news for July 2009

Adapted from:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
07.25.2009; Shelia M. Poole

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More Organizations Supporting Women With HIV/AIDS in the U.S.