Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PWN-Philadelphia's World AIDS Day 2011 Statement: Count Women In!!

Contact:  Waheedah Shabazz –EL, (267) 231-2647
Teresa Sullivan, (215) 512-5104

Hear Us Now! Make Us A Priority, Women Count!
 U.S. Positive Women’s Network-PWN, Advocates to Count HIV+ Women In on World AIDS Day 2011

December 1, 2011, Philadelphia, PA – New biomedical research that may herald an end to the HIV pandemic is the hallmark of 2011, yet HIV remains a leading cause of death for Black American Women.  For women, the promise of science’s advances may ring hollow.  Women have less access to HIV prevention tools and HIV-positive women are less likely to reap the benefits of these new advances. In fact, research shows that women are more likely to get sick and die faster due to poverty, stigma, and logistical barriers to accessing health care.

The HIV pandemic is a human rights crisis. Disproportionately impacting women of color, low-income women and women in the Southern and Northeastern U.S., many women living with HIV suffer from gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination, reproductive rights violations, and lack of employment opportunities. Nationally, over half of women living with HIV are not in medical care.  Studies show that 76% of women living with HIV that are receiving care, have children under the age of 18, which may complicate their ability to manage their own illness. According to local statistics from the Philadelphia Department of Health, the number of African-American women in Philadelphia infected with HIV has also grown dramatically.
Many of the women living with HIV in Philadelphia will suffer even worst health outcomes because they are a part of the city’s two-year waiting list for stable, affordable housing.
“Housing is HIV prevention.  It is HIV treatment and care as well, said Waheedah Shabazz-El, coordinator of the Philadelphia Chapter of the U.S .PWN.  “Stable housing is a gateway to adherence of life saving HIV medications.  It provides a base in which individuals can keep up with doctor appointments and even augments ones ability to negotiate safer sex.  All of which lead to better health outcomes for the individual and safer communities overall. 

Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS-HOPWA is a federal program that provides state by state, subsidies to ward of homelessness of people with HIV, however these federal programs require municipal level support in order to keep up with the number of annual new HIV infections. Philadelphia, dedicate almost no municipal funding to this program.  Philadelphia, instead maintains a two-year waiting list for stable housing for people living with HIV and scores of women with minor children are on that list.   In 2009 alone six (6) Philadelphians with HIV died while on the streets or in the shelter system, as they remained on the two year-long waiting list for stable, affordable housing. Teresa Sullivan, US PWN, national steering committee member said,” We should all be outraged why is this happening in our own city.  Housing is fundamental and the right to housing is supported by the Universal Declarations on Human Rights.

The economic crisis has had grave consequences for women living with HIV. Nationally and locally, several organizations providing essential services to HIV-positive women have closed their doors in the past year or cut back on programs. As the U.S. navigates a volatile election year, women-focused services have become a political football.  The result? Though women comprise over 27% of HIV cases in the U.S., women are rapidly becoming invisible in HIV funding, programs, services, leadership and data. 

Women account for nearly a third of the HIV epidemic in the U.S and account for more than half globally.  Hence, women living with HIV stand in solidarity echoing an essential demand based in Human Rights, “Count Women In.”   Count all women, including transgender women living with HIV.   Count women into the data, services and the resources and present women with leadership opportunities to provide input into policies and programs that affect our lives.
On World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2011, U.S. Positive Women’s Network is launching Count Us In!, a national campaign focused on ensuring that women living with and vulnerable to HIV receive affordable, culturally-competent, non-heterosexist, and age-appropriate women-centered care that upholds our human rights! PWN will be holding local Count Us In! events across the country. Can We count on you to support us? Stay tuned!

Positive Women’s Network-Philadelphia supporting Trans Day of Remembrance, Sunday Nov 20, 2011

U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) is a project of WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease) in Oakland, CA. We are a national membership body of women living with HIV and our allies that exists to strengthen the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the United States. We believe in self-determination, solidarity and sisterhood. Everyday we inspire, inform and mobilize women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve our lives and uphold our rights. Get on our e-mail/mailing list by contacting Sonia Rastogi,, (510) 986-0340 ext. 317.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Day, Another Vicious Attack on Women: PWN Denounces Attacks on Women Living with HIV


Naina Khanna, 681-1169
Sonia Rastogi, 986-0340 x317
Brook Kelly,

U.S. Positive Women’s Network and WORLD Public Statement

Another Day, Another Vicious Attack on Women

Oakland, CA May 18, 2011 – A brutal rape and sexual assault was not enough.  Now the NY Post has turned its vicious sights on the woman who brought assault charges against IMF leader Dominique Strauss.

Rather than focus on the issue of this young woman’s assault charges against a high-powered diplomat, the NY Post chose to break a sensationalist, and unfounded story speculating about the young woman’s HIV status. A young, West African working class immigrant and single mother, she surely experiences multiple forms of marginalization in our society and has shown commendable courage in coming forth with her story.  Like anyone, she is entitled to justice, and physical and psychological safety for herself and her family during and after the process of justice.

The NY Post’s irresponsible coverage exacerbates the power dynamics of racism, sexism, and classism inherent between the woman who has brought charges of assault and Strauss-Kahn, a man in a position of great power. The coverage creates a chilling effect for women who may need to bring assault charges in the future against powerful people, especially for women of color, low income women, and immigrant women.

These irrelevant and potentially false statements serve to intensify existing struggles that young women face daily and could result in violence or discriminatory treatment towards both the young woman in this case and her child. This type of reporting is irresponsible and downright dangerous.  It perpetuates an environment where people cannot feel safe coming forward as survivors of violence without having their sexual history, health status, and ultimately their credibility, questioned.  What was the Post’s real motivation in breaking this story? Would the story have been the same if she were not a young working class West African immigrant?

The U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN), a national membership body of HIV-positive women and a project of Oakland-based women’s HIV organization WORLD, is outraged by the NY Post’s vicious attack on the woman who brought assault charges against IMF leader Dominique Strauss “She is a woman of color who may have been raped physically and is now being raped again,” says Minister Antoinettea Etienne, an HIV-positive woman, and member of the NYC HIV Planning Council.  “The young woman who came forward with rape and assault charges deserves safety and respect from the law enforcement community, media and advocates for her courage in speaking up for her rights.”

PWN demands the NY Post publicly apologize for this story, not engage in this type of sensationalist journalism, and engage in coverage that is relevant to the case.

Talking points for advocates interested in writing letters to the NY Post editor are attached here and available at  Letters can go to: but we also encourage advocates to write, speak and blog using these talking points.


Who we are:

The U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) is a project of WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease) in Oakland, CA. We are a national membership organization that exists to strengthen the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the United States. For more information, visit: and join the PWN mailing list by emailing pwn(at)

naina khanna
coordinator, u.s. positive women's network
policy director, WORLD
510.681.1169 mobile
510.986.0341 fax

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Philly Trans-Activist Andrea Lamour Selected for U.S. Positive Women’s National Steering Committee

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Waheedah Shabazz-El:  267 231-2647 or  Andrea Lamour Harrington 215 410-4463

Making Herstory. Philly Trans-Activist Andrea Lamour Selected for U.S. Positive Women’s National Steering Committee

Philadelphia, PA:  Local transgender
 Activist Ms Andrea Lamour Harrington who many may know for taking her show on the road is now taking her activism on the road as a newly selected member of the National Steering Committee for the U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN).   Andrea represents the second transwoman to be selected to PWN’s national steering body.  She will be bringing her talents and spirit of advocacy to a national network of self-identified HIV-positive women that embrace the inclusion of transgender women in order to strengthen our collective power.

The U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) is a project of WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease).  PWN was founded by 28 diverse HIV-positive women leaders in June 2008. The mission of the PWN is to prepare and involve HIV-positive women, including transgender women, in all levels of policy and decision-making to improve the quality of women’s lives.  Founding members included women born outside the U.S., monolingual Spanish speakers, and transgender women. The women came from diverse background and experiences -  rural, southern, and urban, of diverse races and ethnicities, and spanning a spectrum of ages, with the youngest 21 and the oldest 72 years old. Founding members’ common thread: they were all HIV-positive and had a deep desire to create a unified voice and build collective power for HIV-positive women across the United States.

Andrea heard the call and joined the local PWN-Philly chapter in 2009.  “This is an exciting opportunity not only for me but for transwomen across the United States.  We have come a long way but we still have far to go in having our needs met, said Andrea L. Harrington who is currently employed at the COLOURS Organization.  “As trans women we are more vulnerable to HIV than any other gender, and we have specific needs that relate to HIV prevention and care. Yet we are often invisible even when it comes to data collection about the epidemic. I am happy to serve on the PWN National Steering Committee because in order to make things happen we have to become a part of the larger conversations.  Working together as a network of positive women strengthens all of us.” 

Andrea  will meet up with PWN Founders, Advisory Board and Steering Committee Members next month in Denver, Colorado. There she will begin her newest journey as a national representative of over 300,000 women living with HIV in the U.S.  But she will not go alone.  She will be joined by PWN founding/advisory member Waheedah Shabazz-El, and activist Teresa Sullivan, who has served on the PWN National Steering Committee since June 2010.  Both Teresa and Waheedah are long time employees at Philadelphia FIGHT.   “We embrace the strength that comes through our diversity.  That’s how we win, said Shabazz-El who is also the coordinator of the local PWN-Philly Chapter, which has trained over 100 women living with HIV to be active as local leaders role models and mentors.
Who we are:  The U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) is a project of WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Diseases) in Oakland, CA.  We are a national membership body that exists to strengthen the strategic power of women living with HIV in the United States.  For more information please visit:                         

Mayor Nutter to sign "Ban the Box "Legislation: Ending Felony Questions on Job Applications.

Contact: Wayne Jacobs
X-Offenders for Community Empowerment

2538 W. Hagert Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Phone 267 325 0335
Fax 215 223 5688
X-Offenders for Community Empowerment

Press Release
Ban the Box signed into law on April 18
Witness this historic event on Monday, April 18 at 10:00 AM in City Hall

Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday, April 12, 2011:  On Monday, April18, 2011 in the Mayor’s Reception Room,  202 City Hall, at 10:00 AM  Mayor Michael Nutter will sign legislation, sponsored by City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, removing the section in job applications asking for criminal histories. No longer will some job applications in the city of Philadelphia require employers to use the “BOX” that denies formerly convicted people access to equal employment opportunities to provide for their families. 
Denial of equal access to job opportunities for the formerly convicted is a civil rights injustice this new legislation will correct. Philadelphia is known as the cradle of liberty and now will allow formerly convicted people to pursue job opportunities that will lead to freeing their families from the cycle of persistent poverty.
Come to City Hall at 10:00 AM on 4/18 to witness this historic event which happened due to the organizing activities of the formerly convicted and supporters of civil rights for all.

There will be a reception celebrating the bill’s signing on Monday, April 18 at the African American United Fund Conference Center, 2231 N. Broad Street, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Call 267 325 0335 to RSVP.

X-Offenders for Community Empowerment is a proactive crime prevention organization dedicated to reducing the level of crime and violence in the community and the resulting convictions of the thousands of young men and women who represent the future of our people.  Our objective is to reduce recidivism by embracing the formerly convicted on their return to the community following convictions and providing direction for them to become productive members of the community and agents for positive change.

Supporting agencies: African American United Fund, Stop and Surrender Recovery, Why Not Prosper for Women, NAACP,
4 Ever Striving, Time To Make A Change, Frontline Dads, Wise Choice, Carson Valley Service Center, VIP Daycare, Pennsylvania Prison Society. For information about how join the movement, contact Wayne Jacobs at 267-325-0335.

<>   Facebook: Xofenders  Empowerment

Sunday, March 6, 2011

PWN-Philly hosted 1st National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day Sat March 5, 2011

Earlier today Sat March 5, 2011 Philly Positive Women's Network hosted National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day .... As a part of a 12 city collaboration with DHS(Women's Health Division) and CEG, Washington, D.C. 

A Rainbow of women, men and families supported the event today that highlighted ways to engage women in local advocacy as a means of helping to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. 

Our Key Note Speaker Jane Shull, Phila FIGHT captivated the women audience as she took them on an nostalgic journey highlighting the role of women in the social justice and human rights movements. City Health Department Official Jane Baker presented the women with a City of Philadelphia Proclamation in recognition of the work of Philly PWN has taken on of educating communities, women and decision makers on the real needs of women amidst an AIDS Crisis.

The participants were thoroughly entertained with dance and song theatrics by Philly's Best Female Illusionist, Tina Montgomery and Andrea Lamour-Lopez, COULORS.

Thanks to all the women, men, families and community supporters who helped make this event a huge success as women assert themselves to Take Action & Leadership in the fight against HIV.

PWN-Philly would also like to thank its local host partner, Girl U Can Do It, inc.

Monday, February 28, 2011

For Immediate Release: PWN-Philly with DHHS to Host National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day Event

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Waheedah Shabazz-El (267) 231-2647 or Teresa Sullivan (215) 512-5104
Philly-Positive Women’s Network to Host National Women’s & Girls HIV Awareness Day.   “Time for Women to Take Action” to Stop HIV

Philadelphia, Pa.  March 1, 2011--The Philadelphia Chapter of the U.S. Positive Women’s Network  in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH) will host a local event in observance of National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day, at the Rotunda Community Center, located 4014 Walnut St on  Saturday March 5,2011,from 10:00am until 2:00pm.  One of twelve sponsored events across the country where women will assert it is “Time to Take Action” and support the National HIV AIDS Strategy by developing approaches   that will reduce the rates of HIV amongst women and girls in the U.S.   

Jane Shull, Executive Director Philadelphia FIGHT will deliver the Key Note Address encouraging women to assume leadership in their own fight against HIV.  A  Proclamation from the City of Philadelphia will be presented to the 100 expected  guest who will be sporting “Time to Take Action” T-shirts and watches, compliments of D.C.’s Community Education Group. The event is free and will feature live performances by Philadelphia’s Award Winning Female Illusionists, Ms Andrea Lopez, COLOURS and Ms Tina Montgomery.  “This is a day for all women regardless of who you are or what you believe in to put our heads together to stop HIV” said Maria Cruz, Latino Coordinator PWN-Philly. 

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide observance that encourages discussion and teaching women and girls about prevention of HIV, the importance of getting tested for HIV, and how to live with and manage HIV/AIDS. “Women have got to be made a priority.  We are now 1/3 of the HIV epidemic in the U.S. But to make that happen we have to bring our own voices to the table” said Andrea Johnson, PWN Member and Founder of Girl U Can Do It Inc.
Who we are:
The U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) is a project of WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease) in Oakland, CA.   We are a national membership body that exists to strengthen the strategic power of women living with HIV in the United States. PWN-Philly is one of several regional organizing groups. For more information please visit: or join the PWN mailing list by emailing  PWN-Philly Blog:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

PWN-Philly Hosts National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day, March 5, 2011

    National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day
Time for Women to Take Action Against HIV

   Where: The Rotunda: 4014 Walnut St,  Phila Pa 
When: Saturday March 5, 2011 
            From 10:00am to 2:00pm

Keynote Speaker: 
Jane Shull, Executive Director, Phila FIGHT

Welcoming New Members, Registered Members, Allies & Advocates
  Advocacy Discussion-                     Networking!              Food!       Fun!                 Live Entertainment! 

This is a Free Event but space is limited.  
To RSVP Call: (215) 985-4448 ext 153

For more info contact Organizers:  
   Waheedah Shabazz-EL (267) 231-2647
Teresa Sullivan (215) 512-5104   
   Maria Cruz (215) 454-9838  
   Roberta Mclean (267) 471-9703
                                   Andrea Johnson at Girl U Can Do IT INC  (215) 378-9418