The blog is a place for community members, women with lived experience, and staff to share their understanding of HIV and hepatitis C.
Donna is familiar to many partners and allies in the HIV community. In November 2015, after working for 10 years as the director of fund development for PWN, Donna was chosen to fill the role of Executive Director. Donna says that there is still a huge gap in the availability of and access to women-specific services in the HIV world, and PWN’s mandate is to respond by bringing equity to the provision of services for women living with and affected by HIV and HCV. “I will bring women’s issues to each health care or social service discussion where HIV and hepatitis C are addressed,” says Donna.
Please join me as I share my story of living positive with HIV. I was diagnosed in 1994 and I’m still going strong. I’m an advocate, I work part-time at PWN, I’m in the midst of starting my own business, I am crazy about yoga and I ride my bike whenever possible. I also make the best granola you’ll ever taste. I have recently gone through a monumental growth spurt (alas not physically – I’m still only 5’1″) and I’m looking forward to writing about my new adventures. Hopefully you will find points of common ground and you will join in on the discussion.
Guest Blogger Deb Schmitz
Deb has worked for 25 years in community-based HIV and hepatitis C organizations, the past 8 years with Pacific Hepatitis C Network. Having lived and worked in northern BC for 17 of those years, Deb has witnessed the force of colonization in the lives of Aboriginal people but even more their incredible resistance to and triumph over colonization. Deb made the shift from direct service to capacity-building and advocacy toward increasing support and influencing public policy that impacts the lives of all people living with and at-risk for hepatitis C.
I was with Positive Women’s Network from 1993 to 2016 and saw many amazing changes during that time. It was great to work with people who were passionate about health, social change, gender inequity and sexual frankness. I was one of the developers of this site and the lead on You Should Know, a site for sexual health education and STI prevention, plus many of the resources from PWN that are used across Canada: the Pocket Guide for Women Living with HIV, HIV and Pregnancy: Yes You Can!, Pocket Guide on Aging for Women Living with HIV, and more. I also coordinated special events and the annual SpringBoard conference. Twitter: @janet_madsen
Working in knowledge translation and exchange at Positive Women’s Network, I crafted brochures and booklets on HIV, the law, and disclosure; made presentations on the connections between HIV and violence against women; and held workshops with students and service providers to reduce stigma. My background in supporting survivors of violence has led to a passion for issues related to HIV, sexual health, mental health, and drug policy. I’m also a dessert lover, as long as it’s chocolate. You can find my blog entries here. Twitter: @ErinLynds
I stumbled upon the HIV service field by accident. I was a handful of credits away from completing a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Russian Literature. After seven years of post-secondary, including a short foray into fine arts at Emily Carr Institute, I started to wonder how on earth I would make a living once I got out of school! Fortunately, in addition to a whole lot of customer service, I had a pretty extensive volunteer and activism resume, which got me my first job in this field. I joined Positive Women’s Network in 2006 and was resource coordinator from 2007 to 2011. I loved my role as “information hub” for PWN members and staff, service providers, and the broader public who are seeking information about HIV, treatment and prevention.