Advocacy in Action
Colorado Repeals 2 HIV Criminalization Laws, Significantly Modifies Third
PWN-USA Colorado and the CO Mod Squad Score Major Victory in the Fight to End HIV Criminalization

A Colorado team known as the "CO Mod Squad," led by PWN-USA Colorado, in partnership with the Colorado Organizations Responding to AIDS (CORA) and the Colorado Department of Public Health, saw over four years of hard work and persistent advocacy pay off this Wednesday when Senate Bill 16-146, repealing two HIV criminalization statutes and significantly reforming the third, passed both the senate and the house. It now only awaits the governor's signature to become law.

"Today we changed the world," said Barb Cardell, PWN-USA Board Chair, co-chair of PWN-USA Colorado and a presenter at next week's HIV Is Not a Crime II Training Academy. "With people living with HIV leading the way and our allies supporting us, we were able to do something many thought we couldn't and we had only dreamed of until now."

The bill, introduced into the state senate in March by Sen. Pat Steadman (one of the keynote speakers at  HIV Is Not a Crime II next week) and into the house by Rep. Daneya Esgar, updates statutes related to HIV to include all STIs, in accordance with current science and medical advances, and removes the HIV criminalization language in the statute. 

"In 2014, at the first HIV Is Not a Crime conference in Grinnell, someone asked which state was going to be the next to reform their HIV criminalization laws," added Kari Hartel, co-chair of PWN-USA Colorado. "I answered with confidence that it was going to be Colorado! It has been a long road, and this bill isn't perfect. But if this process has taught us anything, it's that our advocacy efforts CAN and DO make a difference!"

HIV Is Not a Crime II National Training Academy Kicks Off Tuesday!

Advocates from 34 states and 4 countries will convene Tuesday in Huntsville, Alabama, for HIV Is Not a Crime II National Training Academy, co-organized by PWN-USA and SERO Project. 

The Training Academy will convene in the Deep South -- the US region most heavily affected by HIV and many other symptoms of historical injustice - a region where resistance is fertile.

Session topics include:
  • What's Working? Where Are We Struggling? Focus on State Strategies: Successes & Challenges
  • AntiBlackness & HIV Criminalization: Grounding Ourselves in Racial Justice
  • Activists, Advocates and Lawyers: Collaborating to a Common Goal
  • Joining Forces: Mobilizing Feminists to Challenge Unjust Prosecutions
  • Building Youth Capacity to Effect Policy Change Through an Intergenerational Model
View the full program of exciting, thought-provoking, movement-building sessions  here.

A report from HIV Justice Network and GNP+, Advancing HIV Justice 2, just released last week as part of the HIV Justice Worldwide campaign, shows that the need for advocacy campaigns to end HIV criminalization are more necessary than ever, and not just in the US. The report finds that a total of 72 countries have adopted laws that specifically allow for HIV criminalization, either because the law is HIV-specific, or because it names HIV as one (or more) of the diseases covered by the law--an increase of 5 countries since 2013. Prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, potential or perceived exposure and/or unintentional transmission have now been reported in 61 countries.

HIV criminalization survivor Monique Howell-Moree
Why is it so important to repeal or modernize these laws? Read this post on our #PWNSpeaks blog from South Carolina member and HIV criminalization survivor Monique Howell-Moree for a firsthand testimony, and this great article on the experiences of Julie Graham, a Philadelphia member whose life was upended in 2013 by criminal charges brought by a man she had dated. (Julie also contributed to this report on HIV criminalization in Pennsylvania released last month by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, SERO Project and PWN-USA Philadelphia.)

We hope to see many of you at the Training Academy as we gather to strategize on how best to fight these unjust laws! For those who can't make it--keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter  (hashtag #HIVIsNotACrime) accounts for updates, highlights and photos of the Training Academy!

PWN-USA Welcomes Our 11th Affiliated Regional Chapter, 
PWN-USA Greater Houston Area!

Co-Chair Isis Torrente
Co-Chair Tana Pradia
We are excited to introduce our 11th affiliated regional chapter, PWN-USA Greater Houston Area

"We started the PWN chapter to empower all women. No one can speak for us or make decisions about our lives without one of us at the table. We must stand together, because HIV is not a crime," said co-chair Tana Pradia.

"I am very proud and honored to take on the role of co-chair for PWN-USA Greater Houston Chapter. I look forward to working with all women living with HIV, organizing, connecting, and empowering them by educating on policy and raising awareness that will improve the quality of their lives," said co-chair Isis Torrente.

Welcome, Greater Houston Area!

1 Week Left to Submit Your Session Proposal for SPEAK UP! 2016 National Leadership Summit for Women Living with HIV
Deadline Extended to May 20 -- Submissions in Spanish Welcome

SPEAK UP! 2016
PWN-USA Board Member Teresa Sullivan invites you to SPEAK UP! 2016
Bring your knowledge, skills and experience to Florida this September to help develop new and seasoned advocates--all women living with HIV. The 

We invite proposals for various types of sessions (affinity groups, discussion group, or workshop) for SPEAK UP! Positive Women's Network - USA's 2016 National Leadership Summit. (Learn more about the 2016 Summit here; read about the impact of PWN-USA's first National Leadership Summit in 2014 here.)

Have an idea, but not sure how to get started? Email  and we can connect you with a mentor to help you get your proposal ready!

For more information and to submit your session proposal, click here. To register for the Summit, click here. To sponsor the Summit, click here.
Learn and Grow with PWN-USA!
Get the Skills You Need to Move Your Campaign Forward

Using Values-Based Messaging to Move Your Campaign: 
Wednesday, May 25, 12:30 PM EDT/11:30 AM CDT/10:30 AM MDT/9:30 AM PDT
Register here
Have you ever wondered why so many people seem so willing to believe things politicians or other public figures say that simply aren't true, or why it's so hard to win a debate with certain folks, even when all the facts are on your side? People believe in or discard messages based on what appeals to their core values. When you know how to identify those core values and appeal to as many of them as possible in your message, your audience is much more likely to hear and consider your message. In this interactive training, we will learn just how to do that, as well as how to make that message the public platform of your campaign. This webinar will be co-presented by PWN-USA Regional Organizing Director Waheedah Shabazz-El, PWN-USA Board Member and PWN-USA Philadelphia Senior Member Teresa Sullivan, and PWN-USA Communications Director Jennie Smith-Camejo.

This training is part of the Communications Training Series, the Regional Organizing and Leadership Development Training Series and the Policy Training Series.

For more great trainings and resources to help you fight stigma and advance your advocacy efforts, check out this article for by Olivia Ford!

Reading We Recommend

Woman Crush(ing) the Patriarchy: Arianna Lint (Raquel Reichard for Latina Magazine): Q: Your training is in law. Why the career change to health and transgender activism? A: I believe everyone has the same rights, and no one has the right to discriminate against anybody else. But laws and regulations don't agree with me; they are backwards and don't ensure inclusion on the federal level. That's why I try to make change through activism. People like me in Florida, and amazing trans women like Bamby Salcedo in Los Angeles, Ruby Corado in Washington, D.C. and Elia Chino in Houston, are Latinas and want to work for our community. We are working together, and we are proud of who we are. People try to discriminate against me, and as soon as I feel it, I fight, because I'm Latina and I have that power. I fear nobody. Read the full interview here.

Why Race Matters: Women and HIV (The Well Project): Race matters when it comes to HIV - and not just for women of color. Around the world, the "female face of HIV" is, overwhelmingly, the face of a Black or Brown woman. This is the case worldwide, where roughly half of all people living with HIV are women. The vast majority of these women live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where the percentage of women with HIV is rising. Further, transgender women around the globe are nearly 50 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general adult population. In the US, about one in four people living with HIV (HIV+) is a woman. However, African-American women and Latinas make up nearly 80 percent of these women, even though they account for less than 30 percent of the US female population. (For more information, view our fact sheet, Women and HIV.) One study also showed that the HIV rate is more than three times higher among Black transgender women than among white or Latina transwomen. Read the full factsheet here.

Should Prostitution Be a Crime? (by Emily Bazelon for The New York Times): In the United States and around the globe, many sex workers (the term activists prefer to "prostitute") are trying to change how they are perceived and policed. They are fighting the legal status quo, social mores and also mainstream feminism, which has typically focused on saving women from the sex trade rather than supporting sex workers who demand greater rights. But in the last decade, sex-worker activists have gained new allies. If Amnesty's international board approves a final policy in favor of decriminalization in the next month, it will join forces with public-health organizations that have successfully worked for years with groups of sex workers to halt the spread of H.I.V. and AIDS, especially in developing countries. "The urgency of the H.I.V. epidemic really exploded a a lot of taboos," says Catherine Murphy, an Amnesty policy adviser. Read the full story here.