Location: Oakland, CA; Houston, TX
Region: United States
Founding: 2008
Founders/leadership: Naina Khanna, co-director; Venita Ray, co-director

 

Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA) is a national membership body of women living with HIV. It was founded in 2008 by 28 women leaders living with HIV, diverse in background and experiences — rural, southern, and urban, of diverse races and ethnicities, and spanning a spectrum of ages ranging from 21 to 72 years old. A foundational part of the MSC ecosystem since 2013, PWN-USA’s mission is to prepare and involve women and people of trans experience living with HIV in all levels of policy and decision-making, strengthening the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the United States. 

Every day, PWN-USA inspires, informs, and mobilizes women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve their lives and uphold their rights. PWN-USA develops a leadership pipeline and policy agenda that applies a gender lens to the domestic HIV epidemic grounded in social justice and human rights. An organizing machine populated by self-identified women living with HIV — including women of transgender experience — members participate in workgroups, regional chapters, training, and events. PWN-USA supports regional chapters in building leadership at a local, state, and federal advocacy level. 

Community informed, the PWN-USA board of directors consists entirely of women living with HIV, representing the epidemic’s diverse communities. Co-directors Venita Ray and Naina Khanna support a vision of the world where women living with HIV can live long, healthy, dignified lives that are free from stigma and discrimination.

Venita Ray, a member of PWN-USA’s board of directors until she accepted a deputy director position, has more than 20 years of experience working in underserved communities on social justice issues, including affordable housing, environmental justice, health care, and HIV. Ray speaks and trains locally and nationally on issues impacting the HIV community, and in 2016 she led a citywide effort to end the HIV epidemic in Houston.

A national speaker, trainer, and advocate, Naina Khanna has worked in the HIV field since 2005, following her HIV diagnosis in 2002. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for AIDS United, the National Steering Committee for the US People Living with HIV Caucus, is a member of the Women’s HIV Research Initiative and served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) from 2010-2014.