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World AIDS Day 2009: Bring Human Rights Home!

The U.S. Positive Women's Network (PWN) is a national membership body led by women living with HIV in the United States. PWN's mission is to involve HIV-positive women at all levels of policy analysis and decision-making to improve the quality of our lives.

We achieve this by:

1) Cultivating leadership of HIV-positive women
2) Engaging in policy analysis and campaigns to change policy that impacts women affected by HIV
3) Shifting public perception to promote a compassionate response to people living with HIV and building public will to end the HIV epidemic
4) Developing and disseminating tools for collective action among women and HIV advocates.

The U.S. HIV epidemic disproportionately impacts people of color, women, and people living in poverty.

To effectively address the U.S. HIV epidemic, policy makers and advocates must address the underlying social and structural factors that put some communities at elevated risk for HIV.

This World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2009, we call on the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress to bring human rights home!

* Make women a Priority Population in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

* Pass health reform with a robust public option that protects a woman’s right to choose

* Take affirmative steps to end the criminalization and stigmatization of people living with HIV

* Ensure that the rights of people living with HIV are protected – in particular, our rights to employment, culturally appropriate healthcare, and our right to choose whether and when to bear children.

* Give women the option to protect ourselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by funding research for prevention mechanisms that women can control-- such as microbicides and an HIV vaccine.

* Move away from a solely individual risk-based HIV testing model, which causes many people to “fall through the cracks” – to a system that offers counseling and voluntary HIV testing to everyone, regardless of perceived behavioral risk, and that takes into account social and economic factors that make some people more vulnerable to acquiring HIV.

* Invest in and build capacity of organizations with a track record of retaining HIV+ women and communities of color in care.

For more information and to contact the PWN, please visit www.pwn-usa.org.

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