AIDS United’s People Organizing Positively initiative, with generous support from Gilead Sciences, taps a new generation of leaders living with HIV to help end the HIV epidemic in the United States.
From creating a food pantry to implementing scholarships for students living with HIV, the 10 new grantees are working to harness the power and resiliency that already exists in their communities to make a clear difference in the lives of people living with HIV everywhere.
These projects have adapted to continue to reach and support people living with HIV, while meeting the challenges caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We asked our grantees to share with us about their upcoming work.
Christie’s Place, CHANGE 4 Women: Transformations; San Diego, California
The CHANGE for Women Transformations Program incorporates targeted strategies that reduce stigma and isolation among cisgender and transgender women living with HIV, including vital empowerment training, family-centered special events and activities and educational workshops that encourage connection to community and retention in care and support services. Through this program, women living with HIV will be given space to identify and voice community concerns and needs, foster their ability to take an active role in their care and treatment, increase knowledge of HIV and related conditions, and increase their agency to become advocates for themselves and others. By uplifting their voices, women living with HIV will inspire positive change among others in their communities.
He Is Valuable Inc., HE + HIM + HIS = COINED; Atlanta, Georgia
The He Is Valuable Inc. staff, volunteers, Board of Directors and Community Advisory Board members are dedicated to curating and providing high quality, innovative and transformative programs, services and events. The vision of He Is Valuable Inc. is to build a community that calls together and celebrates the imminent and collective value of Black queer men and their communities as means to address health disparities and other social, political and economic issues including but not limited to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a social enterprise, HIV Inc. is structured to provide an array of programs and services dedicated to the social, political and economic advancement of Black queer men.
Positive Women’s Network-USA, Building long-term power for people living with HIV; Oakland, California
Southern Black women and transgender women have been especially hard hit by the HIV epidemic and continue to bear among the highest rates of HIV diagnosis in the United States. PWN members are at heightened risk of discrimination based on HIV status, race, gender, gender identity and tend to live in areas that are underserved by HIV legal and policy expertise. At the same time, policy and advocacy spaces have historically been inaccessible to women living with HIV. Barriers related to HIV discrimination, structural and institutional racism, patriarchy, transphobia and classism continue to make it difficult for women living with HIV to acquire the legal expertise often demanded of legislative advocates. The goal of this project is to increase the capacity of PLHIV and allies, with a focus on Black, Indigenous and Latinx women and people of transgender experience, to conduct federal, state and local policy advocacy.
Sero Project Inc., General Operating Support Project; Milford, Pennsylvania
Sero Project is a U.S.-based PLHIV network fighting for freedom from stigma, discrimination and HIV criminalization. HIV criminalization is the most extreme manifestation of stigma and an understanding of how stigma has changed, and in many cases worsened, is the foundation of our work. Our work is predicated on prioritizing the engagement of people living with HIV through networks (especially those representing key populations) to enable PLHIV to define their own priorities and agenda, select leadership of their own choosing and to be able to hold said leadership accountable and to speak with a collective voice.
The HIV League, 2021 HIV League Scholarship; Brooklyn, New York
We are implementing the 2021 HIV League Scholarship, the only national scholarship for students living with HIV. Students living with HIV are men, women and genderfluid. Students living with HIV are all sorts of queer. Students living with HIV are cisgender and transgender. Students living with HIV are young and old. Students living with HIV are Black, Latinx, Indigenious, Asian and everything in between. Students living with HIV continue to seek out ways to invest in their long-term futures, hence their drive and passion for higher education. We are proud to invest in the HIV community because we are not only investing in HIV lives, but we are also investing in the lives of those who identify with so much more than just their HIV status.
The International Community of Women Living with HIV North America, ICW Strong!; Washington, D.C.
ICWNA leadership will continue to respond to women living with HIV still without access to information, health care (particularly anti-retroviral prescriptions or medication), and already limited sexual and reproductive health services. In collaboration with our individual members and partner organizations, we will continue to respond directly to increased calls of gender-based violence and mental health breakdowns, helping women who use drugs, who are homeless and/or needing food and other emergency supplies.
The Normal Anomaly Initiative, E-POP; Houston, Texas
E-POP, or Electronic Positive Organizing Project, will be a virtual policy and advocacy program that will cultivate the infrastructure of people of Houston living with HIV. Using the work that has already been done in our communities, this will be led by those living with HIV. People living with HIV in Houston don’t have many spaces that are focused on and led by those living in this experience. This will give empowerment and infrastructure for the work to continue.
The Source LGBT+ Center, Positive Outcomes Project; Visalia, California
Positive Outcomes Project will provide leadership opportunities to, and meaningful involvement of PLWH because every aspect of the project is developed and implemented by PLWH. We will create more support and social groups for PLWH, create a food pantry, host our first annual AIDS Walk and decrease stigma by increasing visibility with advertising.
THRIVE SS Inc., THRIVE AMBASSADORS; Atlanta, Georgia
Having the ability to use the funds for general operating, we decided to utilize the funds to bolster our volunteer program, “THRIVE AMBASSADORS.” We will provide leadership, policy and advocacy training. THRIVE SS will soon start to provide COVID, HIV and STI testing services to the community, and our ambassadors will be able to add additional support.
WhatsintheMirror, Art Heals Project; Austin, Texas
This project will provide further trainings in trauma informed care, peer support, and healing justice models to persons living with HIV for staff and community members. There is currently a lack of PLHIV led organizations receiving and providing training to assist in healing communities around racial, social and health inequities.
To date, the People Organizing Positively initiative, with technical assistance support from the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus, has awarded 55 grants to 37 organizations that collectively reached more than 300,000 people living with HIV. Learn more.