NWAC to Help Women-led and Serving Organizations Play a Key Role in “Getting to Zero”

November 28, 2012

Contact: Vanessa Johnson, National Coordinator, NWAC at [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC; November 28, 2012 — In observance of World AIDS Day on December 1, 2012, the National Women and AIDS Collective (NWAC) implores those who care about women to acknowledge and support the role that women-led and serving organizations can play in “Getting to Zero.” Advances in treatment and prevention can help us achieve zero new infections for the next generation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at some point in her lifetime, 1 in 139 women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. Black and Hispanic/Latina women are at increased risk of being diagnosed with HIV infection (1 in 32 black women and 1 in 106 Hispanic/Latina women will be diagnosed with HIV). The majority of these cases are among women of color the majority of whom live in poverty and are responsible for children under the age of 18 years of age. Liz Brosnan, NWAC’s Chair and Executive Director for Christie’s Place (San Diego, CA) states that “although it is well understood that the intersection of multiple factors contribute to the spread of HIV infection among women, underfunded public health mandates and funding cuts to vital health and social services weakens the ability of women-led and serving organizations to provide needed services.”

As HIV/AIDS continues to adversely affect women, here at home in the U.S., gender-specific strategies aimed at redefining service delivery systems and social norms are needed to empower women’s ability to achieve better health and social outcomes for themselves and their families. Policy mandates and social determinants (of health) can impact not just service delivery but can also affect an individual’s probability of acquiring HIV. Greater improvements in gender-specific health and social outcomes can be achieved by reviewing key policy mandates and select social determinants (of health). But as noted by Sylvia Lopez, Program Manager for the Women Rising Project (Austin, TX), “these efforts will not be successful without the involvement of women-led and serving community based organizations and programs.”

National efforts have been successful in advocating for policies and funding that recognizes and addresses the distinct needs of women. This has been done by ensuring the involvement of women in leadership and funding decisions. As a member and supporter of these efforts, NWAC believes these efforts can be supported by advocating for a parallel action aimed at providing women-led organizations and programs with the training and tools necessary to thrive in this changing public health environment. Therefore, in observance of World AIDS Day, NWAC announces a game-changing webinar series, Sisters in Service, for women-serving organizations and programs which will enable them to assess and consider how HIV services are planned and delivered to achieve the greatest health outcomes for women and their families. To learn more about Sisters in Service contact Vanessa Johnson, National Coordinator, NWAC.

World AIDS Day was established in 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO). NWAC was founded in 2005 and is a national network of women-led organizations and organizations with women-led and focused programs working on behalf of women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States.