Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
This is a living document that is reviewed and revised on an ongoing basis to reflect the changes that occur in the HIV community.
As a women’s AIDS service organization,
- we support the principles of GIPA and MIPA (Greater Involvement of People with AIDS and Meaningful Involvement of People with AIDS)
- we believe that women-exclusive services are needed
- we believe in the importance of both HIV-infected and affected women working together
- we acknowledge women’s strength and resilience
- we support women’s sexual and reproductive choices
- we believe women are self-identified
- we honour the lived experiences of women
- we recognize that our work is strengthened by working in partnership with other organizations
- we acknowledge that colonialism and racism have a devastating impact on Aboriginal women, which is reflected in the disproportionately high HIV infection rates among Aboriginal women.
- we believe that HIV eventually leads to AIDS and that currently there is no cure or vaccine available.
In our work with HIV+ women we strive to
- involve HIV positive women in the planning and implementation of programs
- ensure safety and confidentiality for women accessing our services
- provide service in a way that is non-judgmental, and respectful of individual informed choice
- support women to be active participants in their health care decisions
- promote an understanding of safer sex and harm reduction options among individuals and within community.
- reduce the discrimination and stigma HIV-positive women face when accessing health and community services
- increase organizational capacity to support HIV-positive women who are survivors of current and/or historical trauma, violence and sexual abuse
- provide women and their children with having their basic needs met, e.g. food, clothing, safe housing, health care and transportation
We believe HIV is preventable. However, women’s prevention options are influenced by diverse economic and social factors that contribute to the high rates of HIV infection in women worldwide:
- gender inequality
- lack of women-controlled prevention tools such as microbicides
- women’s invisibility in the AIDS research agenda
- stigma and fear of disclosure of HIV status
- sexual stigma and stereotypes
- women’s limited resources due to demanding multiple roles
- an unsympathetic medical system
- power imbalances in relationships
- men’s violence against women
In the medical community, HIV is defined as a chronic manageable disease. At PWN we witness that for many of the women we work with, and for most women globally, living with HIV is a complex and challenging illness to manage. However, we do recognize that some women live long, strong, healthy lives with HIV.