Ms. Naina Khanna (Executive Director of Positive Women’s Network-USA) and Ms. Gina Brown (Coordinator at New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council) lead off this breakout session with a body-moving activity, unpacking challenging issues related to women and people living with HIV. The first question asked to the group is: “If a woman has been diagnosed with HIV, she should not have children”. The group moves in consensus toward the “strongly disagree” side of the room. Several other questions are asked, with the facilitators creating a comfortable, open space for varying viewpoints and perspectives, allowing for healthy discussion, and following up with best practices.
At 32:39 in the video, Ms. Khanna begins her presentation on HIV Criminalization in the United States. “There is a large movement toward decriminalizing HIV, recognizing these laws are very outdated, they’re based on outdated science, and they’re based on stigma and hysteria”. Her presentation highlights laws nationally and in California that criminalize HIV, as well as quantitative and qualitative data supporting the movement toward decriminalizing HIV.
At 56:32, Ms. Gina Brown shares her story of HIV disclosure. She describes reasons why disclosure is challenging. Some reasons include: fear, stigma, violence, and criminalization. “I had a fear of being alone…The stigma was huge. I had more internal stigma than external stigma…I stayed out of relationships because I didn’t want to disclose.” She then provides strategies to help providers and patients through the difficult process of HIV disclosure.
This video is part of a series of recordings from HIVE’s trauma symposium, “Beyond Compassion: Caring for Women with a History of Trauma.”