Nearly 35 years ago, the Denver Principles drew a framework for the empowerment of people living with HIV. The young activists who penned the Principles called for people living with HIV to "[f]orm caucuses to choose their own representatives, to deal with the media, to choose their own agenda and to plan their own strategies."
Numerous advocates have since answered that call, forming networks of support, leadership and advocacy by and for people living with HIV. After many years of relative silence, networks are returning to the HIV landscape, springing up in urban and rural areas throughout the U.S.
Currently, several large networks of people living with HIV operate with nationwide reach. Read a bit more about them, and contact them via their websites at the links below to get more involved.
U.S. Networks of People Living With HIV
GNP-NA is made up of people living with HIV/AIDS in Canada and the U.S. who believe strongly in the power of self-empowerment and solidarity across backgrounds and experiences. GNP-NA focuses on responding to HIV stigma in media, building coalitions to oppose HIV criminalization and developing leadership among people living with HIV.
The only global network for and by women living with HIV, ICW leads efforts to secure and improve the quality of life of women living with HIV by mobilizing, organizing, advocating, mentoring and raising consciousness about the issues that directly impact such women. ICW currently works in 120 countries and through 10 regional networks, including a North American-based network.
PWN-USA envisions a world where women living with HIV can live long, healthy, dignified and productive lives, free from stigma and discrimination. PWN-USA's mission is to engage all women living with HIV, in all our diversity, including gender identity and sexual expression, at all levels of policy and decision-making. PWN-USA supports 10 U.S. regional chapters, as well as numerous individual women advocates living with HIV.
More about PWN-USA: "Groundbreaking Report Identifies Unique Needs of Women Living With HIV, Challenges to Engagement in Care."
Positively Trans (T+) was started as a response to the structural inequalities that drive the high rate of HIV/AIDS and poor health outcomes among transgender people. T+ seeks to mobilize and promote the resilience of those trans people most impacted by or living with HIV/AIDS, particularly trans women of color, through research, policy advocacy, legal advocacy and leadership strengthening.
More about T+: "Groundbreaking Research Provides Insight Into Lives of Transgender People Living With HIV/AIDS."
Sero is a network of people living with HIV and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. Sero is particularly focused on ending inappropriate criminal prosecutions of HIV-positive people for non-disclosure of their HIV status, potential or perceived HIV exposure and HIV transmission.
More about Sero: "Useful HIV Criminalization Resources From the Sero Project."
The HIV Caucus is a group of organizations, coalitions, networks, client groups and individuals with HIV who advocate for people living with HIV in the U.S. The HIV Caucus has diverse and accountable representation by people living with HIV from throughout the U.S.
More about the U.S. PLHIV Caucus: "Let's Honor the Importance of Networks for People Living With HIV on this World AIDS Day."
A newly forming network, Venas Abiertas is open to all Latinxs of immigrant experience living with HIV in the U.S. The network's leaders are still looking for a core group of activists that will form the heart of the network. The network is especially looking for more cisgender Latinas and cisgender or transgender young Latino men to become part of the group, which embraces intersectionality and inclusion. Those who are interested are welcome to send an email to the address in the article linked above. You can also go to the Venas Abiertas Facebook page, and follow the network on Twitter.
Know of another network of people living with HIV not mentioned here? Name it in the comments section of this article!