The WORLD family wrote several reflections for World AIDS Day that we would like to share with you:
“Decades after the first sightings of HIV, we have come a long way. There have been biomedical advancements that are helping people live longer, healthier lives. And I’m thankful for these advancements. But we still have a ways to go to really say that we’ve won this fight; until this fight is over, I look forward to continuing to fight with and for women living with HIV until we have won.”
-by Ivonne (Ivy) Quiroz [Policy and Advocacy Manager]
“In the aftermath of the recent election, those who have worked to focus attention on the unique health care needs and diverse perspectives of women need to renew our connections with one another. The incoming administration has promised to return women, particularly low income and minority women, to secondary status by limiting their autonomy and choice of health care options. Only by uniting and working together will we be able to protect all women’s right to privacy and self determination. This right guarantees that women and their families have access to a full range of culturally appropriate health promotion, prevention and reproductive health care services including choice of contraceptive options. Now more than ever is the time for WORLD women to come together with our sister organizations and get to work.”
-by Deborah Royal [WORLD Advisory Board]
“This World AIDS Day, I am reflecting on how far we’ve come with HIV/AIDS research and medical innovations, and the work that lies ahead. There have been great strides to help people living with the virus live long and fulfilling lives. WORLD has spent the last 25 years supporting women in our community to do just that. Thank you to all, past and present, who have made WORLD the organization it is today.
And for our sisters who are no longer with us, Rest in Power.”
-by Stephanie Cornwell, MA [Program Services Director]
“Today on World AIDS day, we celebrate that in 2016, the fields of HIV prevention, treatment and cure research are at an exciting juncture, with PrEP and rapid ART as leading interventions in the community. We should put our efforts now on how to provide a safety net to our Positive patients during times of political change.”
-by Alisson Sombredero [WORLD Advisory Board]
“So, what do you do?”
“I work for a women’s HIV organization.”
“OOOHHHHHHHH. Sooooo how did you end up there…?”
I get this question from friends, acquaintances, family members.
And every time I’m asked this question, it’s an opportunity to break the stigma and the misconceptions around HIV and those at greatest risk. It allows me to step out of my bubble, to educate, and learn from those around me. World AIDS day is a day of remembering all of those we lost. It’s a day where we reflect on the work we’ve done and the work that still needs to be done. For me, it’s a recommitment; a shot of fuel that inspires me to continue the work that I’m doing.”
-by Kristina Wong [Program Supervisor]
“Reflecting on World AIDS Day: We need to be mindful of inclusivity and equity as we work to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, including at the level of funding and program design; Noone should be alone in this fight, and no group should be excluded from focus or from provided resources. We need to remember that, in spite of advances in technology for treatment and prevention, many barriers to care still exist for individuals around the world such as poverty and psycho-social factors. Proving the efficacy of treatment is definitely a victory, but there is plentiful work to do in order to bring this treatment to individuals who need it.
We must acknowledge the role that stigma plays in worsening the efficacy of treatment and prevention programs; The psycho-social components are crucial to providing comprehensive care to individuals in addition to the physiological aspects of care. We must unify these components to address both the physical and mental impact that HIV and AIDS play in people’s lives in order to improve both. And much work remains to reduce the cost of treatment and care in many respects. Many individuals who are positive have difficulty affording their treatment options, which results in poor adherence as well as black markets for these medications. We need to get creative, and we need to get serious about facing the realities of HIV treatment in 2016 and beyond.
Lastly, we need to remember the decades of struggle and effort that have brought us to this time. We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. “
-by Casey Zirbel, BA [Administrative Assistant]
“As I reflect on 2016 I am mindful that we should never take anything for granted and be thankful for everything. This year WORLD was blessed with the “WORLD House”, enabling our family to feel safe “in our own house”. We are blessed to be able to continue to provide services, advocacy and love to many.
Peace, blessings, and love.”
-by Lisa Robinson [Operations Manager]