Herstorical Timeline

First Decade 1991 — 2001, WORLD:

  • Started in Rebecca Denison’s living room with a small and courageous group of women who came together to fight for their survival, to educate their community and to leave a historical record of their work.  And so began the first WORLD newsletter by and for HIV-positive women. (1991)
  • Instituted its first Board of Directors. Volunteers staffed a hotline and speakers bureau. Rebecca attended the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam and became a founding member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW). (1992)
  • Received photographic images of women at WORLD by portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz. (1993)
  • Hired its second staff person to work on WORLD retreats. (1994)
  • Started the HIV University, which was born out of a retreat on the medical state of HIV. HIV-positive women were determined to become educated about HIV and its impact on their health. They wanted to know: What do we need to do – and know – about how to live a healthy life? Women were then trained to take this information back to their communities. (1995)
  • Joined the Family Care Network, a Ryan White Part D grantee formed to provide coordinated services to women, children, youth and families living with HIV. That same year outreach began to incarcerated women at Chowchilla Prison. And Rebecca gave birth to twins while providing leadership at WORLD!  (1996)
  • Moved its office to 414 13th Street in Oakland, California, and received funding to begin a formal Peer Advocate Program to provide one-on-one support, guidance and information to HIV-positive women. (1997)
  • Launched a national training program to help HIV-positive women and HIV organizations in 40 cities across the U.S. – essentially replicating the HIV University model, such as SMART University in New York; Healthy University in Kansas City; and Christie’s Place in San Diego; as well as other support groups and programs for women living with HIV. (1997)
  • Started a support group for HIV-positive men and women. (1998)
  • Created and distributed HIV Fact Sheets. (1999)
  • Coordinated a cross-country bike ride and trail hike on the Appalachian Trail for HIV-positive women to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and the impact on women’s lives. (2000)
  • Started the weekly Women Warriors peer-led support group at the WORLD office. WORLD held its 10-year anniversary event. (2001)

Second Decade 2002 – 2012, WORLD:

  • Hired Deborah McSmith as executive director – taking over for Rebecca Denison. WORLD held its second major event – a successful fashion show at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California. (2002)
  • Hired Maura Riordan as executive director – taking over for Deborah McSmith. (2003)
  • Increased the staff of its peer advocacy team – reaching a total of four peers in part-time capacities. (2004)
  • Started the Lotus Project with a five-year funding grant (2005-2010). WORLD partnered with CHT to deliver a national skills-building training for peer advocacy. Over the five-year grant cycle, WORLD trained 220 women across the U.S. (2005)
  • Participated in International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Toronto and marched in first women’s march at an IAC. WORLD held 15th anniversary celebration at the Gaia Theatre. (2006)
  • Held a one-day Northern California women’s community summit on women and HIV for World AIDS Day entitled: “Live, Love, Learn, Lead. (2007)
  • Began the Positive Women’s Network USA (PWN), a network of HIV-positive women and allies organizing and advocating for the rights of HIV-positive women. (2008)
  • Hired Cynthia Carey-Grant as executive director – taking over for Maura Riordan. (2009)
  • Started WORLD/ALMAS Latina support group in collaboration with Family Care Network providers. (2010)
  • Published First PWN newsletter. (2010)
  • Policy Director, Naina Khanna, was appointed to Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). (2010)
  • Presented on several panels and led workshops at the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna. (2010)
  • Piloted the Phoenix Project – a short-term collaboration with EBAC to link HIV-positive women to care – with great success. (2010)
  • Joined the Bay Area Network for Positive Health (BANPH) providing outreach to positive women who were not in care, a multi-year project with SFSU. (2010)
  • Received Kaiser Permanente Diversity in HIV award. (2010)
  • PWN named as one of two U.S. community partners for the 2012 IAC, which will return to the U.S. after a 22-year absence. (2010)
  • Executive Director, Cynthia Carey-Grant, authored: “WORLD: A Model of Support and Advocacy for Women Living with and at Risk for HIV.” (2011)
  • Began offering an ongoing, open-ended and second support group that is peer-led in collaboration with WORLD’ Mental Health Clinician. (2011)
  • Moved its offices to 449 15th Street, Suite 303, Oakland, CA. (2011)
  • WORLD celebrates its 20th Anniversary: “Still We Rise – Celebrating 20 Years of Positive Action for Positive Women” at the 25th Street Collective in downtown Oakland, CA. (2012)

Third Decade 2013 — 2023, WORLD:

  • WORLD joins forces with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to continue providing and expanding access to cutting edge treatment and care for thousands in the Greater Bay Area. (2014)