US Organizations Speak Out on Women and HIV to Inform Health Policy and National AIDS Strategy

For Immediate Release

US HIV/AIDS Groups
Contact: 

Serra Sippel, President Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) +1 202.393.5930 (Office) +1 202.631.8808 (Mobile) ssippel@genderhealth.org
Beri Hull, Global Advocacy Officer International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) +1 202-361-9383 (Office) beri@icw.org
Naina Khanna, Director of Policy & Community Organizing WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease) Coordinator, U.S. Positive Women's Network + 1 510 986 0340 (Office) + 1 510 681 1169 (Mobile) nkhanna@womenhiv.org
Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director Center for HIV Law and Policy +1 212-430-6733 (Office) chanssens@hivlawandpolicy.org

US Organizations Speak Out on Women and HIV to Inform Health Policy and National AIDS Strategy

WASHINGTON - Fourteen
U.S. organizations working on issues related to human rights, women,
and HIV/AIDS submitted a series of policy recommendations to guide the
Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and related agencies in their
efforts to achieve better outcomes for women living with and affected
by HIV.  The report, entitled "Critical Issues for Women and HIV:
Health Policy and the Development of a National AIDS Strategy" calls
attention to the factors contributing to disproportionate rates of HIV
among low-income women and women of color, as well as poor health
outcomes for women living with HIV - and proposes concrete solutions
that integrate systems of prevention and delivery of care.

"The face of the HIV epidemic is increasingly that of a minority woman
living in poverty," said Gina Brown, Medical Case Manager of the
NO/AIDS Taskforce. "Health care systems have largely neglected the
complex medical, economic, and social realities of HIV-positive women."

The working group identified six key areas of focus for better policy
and practices: Meaningful involvement by HIV-positive women in
development of policy and monitoring and evaluation of programs;
greater consideration of HIV-positive people's civil and human rights;
health disparities in the U.S. South and rural areas; health care
access; integration of sexual and reproductive health services with HIV
testing, prevention and care; and HIV prevention. The report
articulates specific policy recommendations that seek to improve the
outcomes of women living with or vulnerable to HIV.  

"Involving the expertise of HIV-positive people and those working on
the frontlines of service delivery is critical to improve prevention
and care outcomes for communities impacted by HIV. We must use a human
rights framework as we reform health policy and develop a National AIDS
Strategy that will truly reduce HIV incidence and increase access to
care for women," said Naina Khanna, Coordinator of the U.S. Positive
Women's Network and Director of Policy and Community Organizing at
WORLD.

Representatives from these organizations plan to meet with Jeff
Crowley, Director of ONAP, and other key White House officials in the
upcoming months to discuss their recommendations and the development of
a National AIDS strategy.

The organizations that authored the report are African Services
Committee; AIDS Alabama; Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina; Center for
HIV Law & Policy; Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP);
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE); HIV Law Project;
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW); National
AIDS Fund; National Women and AIDS Collective (NWAC); Sisterlove, Inc.;
The U.S. Positive Women's Network (PWN); The Women's Collective; and
Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD).

The full text of the report can be accessed at: http://www.genderhealth.org/pubs/onaprecommendations.pdf.

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