June 29, 2010
This article was provided by the Positive Women's Network of the United States of America.
Any minute now, President Barack Obama will release the first ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). This is an historic moment, as the White House takes unprecedented leadership in addressing the domestic HIV epidemic.
What will you be looking for in the Strategy?
The PWN will be looking to see how the Strategy will uphold human rights and work to achieve better HIV outcomes for all women; as it endeavors to meet the President's stated goals of: 1) reducing new HIV infections 2) increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV and 3) reducing HIV-related health disparities.
Along with a number of women and gender-focused HIV advocates from around the country, we helped create a Gender Monitoring Toolkit and Report Card to evaluate and monitor the Strategy from a human rights and gender perspective. The purpose of the tool is to analyze the extent to which the NHAS identifies and prioritizes ways to improve all women's access to HIV prevention, care and treatment programs consistent with the rights to nondiscrimination, dignity, bodily integrity, and ethical treatment.
Organizations involved in the toolkit's creation included AIDS Alabama; ATHENA Network; Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE); Center for HIV Law and Policy; Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), HIV Law Project; International Community of Women living with HIV -- North America, National AIDS Fund; National Women and AIDS Collective (NWAC); Sisterlove, Inc.; U.S. Positive Women's Network (PWN); Women of Color United; and Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD).
In addition to this gender-specific tool, the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy put together an excellent resource to help community advocates think about messaging and mobilizing once the NHAS is released. Go here to check out their communications toolkit.
We know that many of you did a lot of work to provide input into the Strategy -- creating policy recommendations, testifying at the Community Discussions, and ensuring that your folks' voices were heard ... but in some ways our work is just beginning! We must stay engaged as advocates and partners throughout the process to ensure the implementation of the Strategy is successful in meeting the needs of our diverse communities.
We look forward to seeing the Strategy, and to working in collaboration with all of you to ensure its implementation is effective.
In sisterhood and solidarity,
the Positive Women's Network of the United States of America