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Positive Action for Women
At ViiV Healthcare, we know that information, social relationships and emotional support can be transformational to women’s physical health and quality of life. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring that cis and trans women’s needs and voices are prioritized in research, policy, advocacy and community change efforts, and that all women have the opportunity to connect with the resources and support they deserve.
In 2016, ViiV Healthcare spoke with women living with HIV and commissioned ethnographic research in New Orleans to learn more about the experiences of Black women and HIV networks of support and care. We reviewed literature and conducted an up-to-date epidemiology profile to better understand trends in time, geography and solutions for women of color living with HIV. Through this listening, it was clear that women of color living with HIV are heavily impacted by isolation at three levels:
- Isolation from their friends, family and peers as a result of fear and HIV stigma;
- Isolation among service providers and in local planning efforts, which often do not consider the needs of women living with HIV;
- Isolation from the larger cultural discourse around HIV and women’s wellness, including in clinical research, media, culture and communications.
With the help of leaders and communities across the country, we launched PAFW in 2017 with a $2 million investment. Since then, PAFW has resourced more than 35 projects that have connected more than 4,000 women of color living with HIV to other women, organizations and sources of support. These community led initiatives forged in-person and online networks, created content by and for women of color living with HIV, fueled community-led research to close gaps in and elevated the voices of women of color living with HIV to more than 4.5 million people. Read more about PAFW’s successes, learnings and insights from the pilot phase here.
Research and Art, Breaking Down Isolation with Take My Hand
Based on the real stories of Black cis and trans women living with HIV, Take My Hand is ViiV Healthcare’s newest impact theatre piece and community activation that focuses exclusively on the urgency and hope around Black women and HIV. As part of ViiV’s Positive Action for Women initiative, the performance and discussions turn research into art, helping audiences feel more comfortable talking about HIV and how to connect women living with HIV to networks of support.
Positive Action for Women Grantee Spotlight: AIDS Foundation of Chicago – The Women’s Connection
In order for cities to affect change, it requires a variety of actors and organizations across services sectors, collaborating and coordinating to increase resources to meet the unique needs of people living with and affected bvy HIV. For this reason, ViiV Healthcare is pleased to spotlight the inspiring work of the Women’s Connection, a program of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), in a new case study that exemplifies the kind of disruptive, systems-changing it takes to address the HIV epidemic. AFC’s Women’s Connection embodies the core strategies of ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action for Women initiative—to foster networks of women and organizations who focus on the impact of HIV on cis and trans women of color and help to engage women in care. In Chicago, the Women’s Connection engaged a network of women leaders, conducted a city-wide plan, and convened a unique collaboration focused on the needs and experiences of Black cis and trans women living with HIV. Learn more about their work and its impact here.