Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases
WORLD was founded in 1991 when our founder Rebecca Denison unexpectedly tested HIV positive. Rebecca was unable to find services and resources specific to women. She and a small group of positive women started a newsletter that went to 200 readers in her living room. The newsletter featured inspiring cover stories of women living with HIV as well as medical treatment information. Today that same newsletter reaches 12,000 readers in 87 nations.
We offer a variety of services, a few which are specific to women in the Bay Area and others that are inclusive of women throughout the state.
- A quarterly newsletter that includes a cover story of an inspiring woman living with HIV, treatment information and advocacy tips. The newsletter goes to 12,000 readers throughout the U.S. and in 87 nations.
- WORLD's HIV University program, a 12-week intensive training on advocacy, treatment options, and physical and emotional self-care, has graduated nearly 300 inspired and enthusiastic women, committed to advocating for their own medical needs and sharing their heightened level of HIV knowledge with other women in their lives. This program has been replicated nationally with 80 women from 40 U.S. cities. In April of this year WORLD will pilot HIV University with women in South Africa.
- Semi-annual educational and support retreats that strengthen social networks and reduce isolation, provide up-to-date treatment information and tips on accessing high-quality medical care.
- A highly trained speaker's bureau: HIV SPEAKS (Stories of Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Knowledge and Support) comprised of women living with HIV and affected community members who address HIV stigma and the impact it has on care and prevention. Venues include churches, schools, drug treatment centers and health fairs. Over 200 HIV-positive women have participated in this project.
- A peer advocate program staffed by women who are living with HIV, have experienced a positive test result and the subsequent overwhelm involved in accessing good medical care and support services. Peer advocates help navigate positive women through the network of services, advocate for improved care and resources when the woman herself is unable to, and provide emotional support. There are specialized Latina and Perinatal advocates on the team.
- The Lotus Project: a national skill building training for HIV-positive women who are interested in become peer advocates. To date, we have trained women in San Diego, Oakland, New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, San Antonio, Austin and Colombia, South Carolina.
- POWERR: an HIV prevention project that works with African American girls between the ages of 14-19 with a focus on gender issues and sex, risk reduction and strengthening decision-making strategies. This project was created when HIV-positive women informed WORLD during a focus group that they wanted to do prevention work with girls.
- Women Warriors support group: an ongoing support group that has been meeting weekly for the past four years. In addition to providing each other with emotional support, the group invites an educational speaker each week and members also participates in advocacy activities.
- Live, Love, Learn, Lead: A Community Summit on Women & HIV. On November 30th 2007, WORLD held a Summit that included over 300 attendees. Many of these attendees were HIV+ women from throughout the U.S., including Alabama, Louisiana, Washington, New York, Georgia, Texas, Connecticut and Kansas. WORLD mobilized to make this event happen because as the epidemic is having devastating impacts on women of color, there are very few forums focused on women. Some of our plenary and workshop sessions included topics such as: HIV and Transgender Women, HIV-positive Women Leading the Way, How to Advocate Effectively with Healthcare Providers, Incarceration and Positive Women, the State of HIV Prevention and Women, and Stronger Together: Infected & Affected. The Summit will be an annual event.
How to Reach WORLD
414 13th Street, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Latest by Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases
At the WORLD table in the Global Village (l to r): Shalini Eddens, Sylvia Young, Naina Khanna, and Maura Riordan
The Black AIDS Institute recently released a report called Left Behind, highlighting the disproportionate impact of HIV in the U.S. Blac...
Being a woman of Mexican descent, born in the U.S., I felt very proud and honored to be part of the conference and to represent WORLD. My mother is from Mexico, so even though it was my first time to visit Mexico City, I felt at home among people who...
At first I was scared to death about HIV. I was trying to get my life back again, plus, I had an emotional rupture with my boyfriend. It was so hard for both of us to accept HIV. I got to acceptance, but he did not. He left me and said I was the pers...
Dorothy and Liz are both HIV-positive. They are both over 50. Their risks for HIV were the same, regardless of the fact that when diagnosed, one was married and one was single.
"We came from the same era," explains Liz. "We believed that our men wer...
At the age of 15, I met and married the man that I thought was the love of my life. Like a lot of Latino couples, we started a family right away. The day after finding out I was pregnant I had to go to the emergency room because I had a horrible feve...
In the last few years I have come to realize that up until the age of 26 I had led a good life, filled with many accomplishments. I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA, and had a pretty happy childhood, despite the fact that I hated high school and never gradu...
Sex has always been a topic that people shy away from talking about, whether HIV+ or negative. Few people want to talk about how to make sex safe and fun. I've often heard positive women tell me, "Everyone thinks that because I am HIV+ I don't need o...