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What if Tinkerbell Were HIV Positive? Women Speak From USCA 2010

September 22, 2010

This article was provided by the Positive Women's Network of the United States of America.

Positive Women's Network Over 2,000 people attended last week's U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) held in Orlando, FL. The PWN facilitated a couple of workshops and hosted a roundtable on human rights. In addition, along with twelve other organizations, we helped release a Gender Monitoring Report that grades how well the Strategy addresses the needs of women affected by HIV. Women documented their experiences at the conference by blogging on issues important to HIV-positive women and covered workshops, roundtables, and institutes. Below are some thoughts, perspectives, and insight on USCA and it's coverage of key issues affecting women. Visit USCA 2010 Reports or click on the summaries below to read more. Want to blog for PWN on Women & HIV issues? Contact

Key Issues at USCA

Stigma and Discrimination in Disney World

By Barb Cardell

Night falls, I sit in my room, Orlando Florida, looking out over the horizon and I see it, the Cinderella Castle, the dreaded Magical Kingdom that Walt Disney built, the House of the Mouse and so on ... I sigh deeply and close the drapes to shut out the pixie dust and fireworks.

I ponder what it must be like to live in a magical world, a place where every princess has a prince and every story has a happy ending. A magical place where a fairy's death can be rescinded when people clap enough and hope enough and (flashback to early childhood) when they cry enough. Damn I hate Tinkerbell!!! See, in my life, on this bumpy road of HIV for 19 years, there is very little "happily ever after." My friends have died, and stayed dead, no matter how hard I wish it weren't so. But rather than imposing her world on mine, what if my world moved into hers. What if Tinkerbell were HIV+?!

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A Reflection on USCA's Coverage of and Dialogue on Transgender Issues

By Dee Borrego, PWN Founding Member

As an HIV+ Transgender Woman, the 2010 U.S. Conference on AIDS provided the opportunity to continue the lessons learned from last year. I was fortunate enough have the opportunity to speak at the Opening Plenary for the conference where I highlighted the need to create community and unity with our transgender sisters (and brothers) especially those infected and affected by HIV. There were a number of workshops and institutes this year that were trans-focused. However, at every workshop and institute I attended the transgender community was well represented.

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HIV Criminalization

By Vanessa Johnson, J.D., Executive Vice President, NAPWA

Part of my USCA responsibilities included facilitating a round table discussion devoted to HIV criminalization. If I am not mistaken, it may have been the only session at USCA focused on this important topic. Below I reflect on my motivation to discuss HIV criminalization and how this motivation shaped my role at the USCA roundtable: HIV Criminalization.

Why is a session on HIV criminalization important? Because as a person living with HIV (PLWH/A), I am keenly aware that my HIV status, at anytime, could cost me more than just my health.

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How Violence Can Lead to HIV

By Kat

There are many issues that HIV-positive women have been talking to each other and their allies about for years. We are often talking about many of these issues before the medical professionals ever have any clue about them. First background, this week I am at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Orlando, Florida. There are so many possible sessions to attend -- one two hour block had 27 different options. I find that I cannot possibly attend all the sessions on topics that I am interested in. But, HIV+ women and their susceptibility to partner violence is something that I have understood on a personal basis for a long time.

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Your Silence Will Not Protect You

By Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bouldin

"Your silence will not protect you" is a powerful statement written by Audre Lorde, a powerful writer who was a famous advocate for gender rights during her life. The words kept coming to mind today at my first ever USCA conference. I was struck by how powerful each person's story from the panelists and audience members challenged the silence that they often encounter or encountered in certain communities. How empowering it is when we challenge the silence and dare to speak!

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Access to Care: the ADAP Crisis

By Acintia Wright

... Coming from San Diego, CA, our ADAP crisis has not reached the plateau of many states. Some states have waiting lists. Some people have lost their ADAP due to income levels, some people have lost their jobs. these many factors have a lot to do with the lives of individuals infected with HIV/AIDS.

While at the conference there were workshops talking about ADAP and even one of the luncheon plenary sessions was geared toward ADAP. This is a serious problem in our countyy, we are talking about eradicating the spread of HIV, however without proper medication how can we prevent this?

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Building a Bridge From Vienna to Orlando: The International AIDS Conference Theme "Rights Here, Right Now," Continues on to the U.S. Conference on AIDS

The PWN and ally organizations helped build a bridge from Vienna and the International AIDS Conference's theme "Rights Here, Rights Now," to the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) this year in Orlando. Numerous sessions were held at the 14th Annual USCA that reflected on the integration of human rights principles -- government accountability and transparency; equality and nondiscrimination; meaningful participation; and indivisibility & interdependence -- into HIV/AIDS policy and programming.

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Report Outs on Workshops, Roundtables, and Institutes at USCA

Report on an Institute: Developing 2010-2011 Latino HIV/AIDS Federal Policy Recommendations and Ensuring That the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Meets the Needs of Latinos

By Sonia Rastogi, PWN Communications Action Team Coordinator

Co-chaired by the National Latino/Hispanic AIDS Action Agenda (NLAAN) and the Latino Commission on AIDS, this all-day institute reviewed epidemiological data on the epidemic, discussed the needs of the Latino/a community, and analyzed future recommendations and priority policy items for federal, local, and state government in reaction to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

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My Thoughts on "The Other City"

By Sonia Rastogi, PWN Communications Action Team Coordinator

September 12th, 2010, the first day of the U.S. Conference on AIDS 2010, closed with a film screening of The Other City, a documentary film that puts a face to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington, DC. It was only within the last couple of years that the District of Columbia identified its HIV rate to be 3% -- a generalized and severe epidemic is defined as anything greater than 1%. In comparison, DC's out of control epidemic is higher than parts of Asia and Africa.

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Workshop: Testing and Linkage to Care Plus (TLC+): Implications for Women and Families

By Sonia Rastogi

This workshop focused on increasing understanding of TLC+, the term, the term's history, and the NIH research study, while sparking discussion on implications in the community and the role of TLC+. In his presentation, Walt Senterfit, "activist-epidemiologist" from the LA County Department of Public Health and CHAMP, highlighted the need to understand the history of TLC+ and its different terms. TLC+ is both a term for a prevention and care strategy with many sub-meanings depending on who you are talking to, and a term for a 3 year NIH research study set to start in early 2011 in Washington, DC and the Bronx, NY.

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