Category Archives: Advocacy

At Let’s At Let’s Talk About It- we stand up and speak out against gender-based abuse!

reprinted from:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-weber/women-hiv-and-trauma-towa_b_10489298.html

Women, HIV and Trauma: Toward Resiliency & Healing

06/17/2016 02:52 pm ET | Updated Jun 18, 2016
  • Shannon Weber Love note writer + public displays of affection + mapping the end of HIV transmission
  • Co-authored by Karishma Oza, HIVE Program Coordinator. 2016-06-15-1466025254-1904082-LoveNoteHeal.jpg

    One in four U.S. women have experienced gender based violence. Among women living with HIV, one in two has experienced intimate partner violence, and more than 60% have been sexually abused – 5 times the rate of the general female population.

    For over twenty-five years, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center-based HIVE clinic, has provided compassionate, expert reproductive and sexual health care to women living with or affected by HIV. The impact and consequences of violence against women, particularly women living with HIV, is magnified through the lens of women’s reproductive health. Reproductive health highlights the intersection of violence and reproductive justice at the individual, community and institutional level.

    • Trauma is associated with: increased HIV vulnerability, higher HIV incidence, faster disease progression, more hospitalizations.
    • Unaddressed trauma is associated with twice the rate of death among women living with HIV.
    • The aftermath of violence and/or trauma ruptures women’s relationships with themselves, their partners, family members and the medical system.
    • Women living with HIV have higher rates of tubal regret – meaning more women second guess their decision to have a tubal ligation, for some this decision was made for them.
    • Partner contraception sabotage increases rates of unintended pregnancies.
    • 33 U.S. states with HIV criminalization laws enforce long histories of systemic oppression, further stigmatizing women.

    Pregnancy, contraception, trauma and HIV vulnerability intersect in ways that dramatically impact women’s lives. Even in the face of these overwhelming statistics and devastating outcomes, there is hope. Our collective resilience is cause for a standing ovation. We can seek solidarity in our advocacy efforts and heal through relationships even as we continue efforts to create systems-level change.

    Progress at the national level to integrate trauma-informed care into the primary care setting and specific references to trauma-informed care in the updatedNational HIV/AIDS Strategy, shifts institutional approaches. We share strategies for operationalizing these guidelines at the clinic and individual level with a lens toward healing and resiliency-oriented approaches for working with women living with HIV who’ve experienced trauma.

    1. Shift our focus from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened?” Moving away from blame, allowing space for her story, staying curious, seeking to understand her worldview creates opportunity to meet women where they are and understand their lived experiences.

    2. Commit to self-care and resiliency oriented approaches to our work. More than just practicing what we preach, this integration of trauma-informed principles become the touchstone for truly becoming a trauma reducing, healing system. This begins with a commitment to heal ourselves.

    3. Include women. Ask women for feedback on provider and program approaches, integrate women’s lived experiences when designing new programs or crafting policies, hire women for important roles. Create space for women living with HIV to lead.

    4. Use trigger warnings at the beginning of emotionally intense meetings or online content. Those with primary or secondary trauma are among us. Invite self-care. Create awareness and respect with an overview of what to expect. Respect the self-care measures others take.

    5. Universal screening for intimate partner violence, with counseling and referrals. Preventative education about the intersection of intimate partner violence and health can be provided to all patients, not just those who have disclosed a history of violence. Ask questions in non-triggering, nonjudgmental language with the goal of patient empowerment and safety.

    6. Rape and other forms of violence remove women’s sense of power and control. The medical system is inherently hierarchal. However, medical visits should not create more pain, violence, or humiliation. Turn commands into questions, create space for her response, provide opportunities for women to be in control.

    7. “Difficult” patients may have experienced sexual trauma. She isn’t difficult; she’s had a difficult life or experienced traumas that are difficult to integrate. What might be difficult is the system she’s trying to navigate. Reframing allows space for the experience she is living, invites you to meet her where she is today.

    8. The body of a survivor remembers traumatic experiences. We are somatic creatures; this is our vulnerability and our strength. Through our interactions with survivors, we can change the way we see her, then change the way she sees herself.

    Toward resiliency and healing, we share this poem.

    beyond compassion
    By Silvi Alcivar, The Poetry Store

    the gates call you
    to move forward,
    to pass through thresholds
    that make you able to sustain you,
    the work,
    that make you able to sit in service,
    to model dignity,
    to recognize trauma,
    to take care of community,
    self,
    to live your intellect through your heart
    and be wise.

    the wise one asks:
    what’s the beauty of what we attract?
    what’s the beauty asking me to heal?

    the wise one remembers the breath.
    the wise one drinks the waters of nourishment and release.
    the wise one works with the shadow knowing the shadow means
    there’s always a source of light.

    the wise one asks:
    what are you teaching me?
    what isn’t being seen, held?

    oh, the gates call you, wise ones,
    to move forward, to attend
    to what needs attending, what wants attention
    in ourselves and our inheritance.

    call in your support. breathe.
    honor the spaces between.
    hold intention. clear. release.

    put on your golden cape.
    heal. and be healed.

    Show Some Pride

    Every year in June is national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month). Early in its development, the LGBT Pride Month was only celebrated on the last Sunday of June as “Gay Pride Day,” but over the years, the designated day has expanded into a month-long celebration that came to also include lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender individuals!

    Now, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, and concerts. LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of people from around the world! In addition, memorials are held for those members of our community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. So, the purpose of this month is to honor and recognize the impact and progression that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have made for this community.

    If you want to participate in any of these LGBT Pride Month festivities, please visit http://gainesvillepride.org/ for more information.

    flag-waving                                                                         Image from: http://www.digitaljournal.com/image/68063

    Let us know of any events in your area!

    I Can Do Something

    Stolen Innocence

    Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States will have experienced rape or attempted rape during their lifetime.

    According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), sexual violence is defined as any type of unwanted sexual contact. This can include words or actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. Consent is a mutual agreement to take part in sexual activity.

    Unfortunately, survivors of sexual abuse often know the person who assaulted them. Studies also show that people who sexually abuse usually target someone they know — a friend, classmate, neighbor, coworker, or relative.

    In 2005-10, about 55% of rape or sexual assault victimizations occurred at or near the victim’s home, and another 12% occurred at or near the home of a friend, relative, or acquaintance.

    Together, we can change the conditions that contribute to sexual violence.

    You can learn the facts about sexual violence and play an active role in changing misconceptions. Prevention starts with believing survivors when they disclose. In your personal life, you can model supportive relationships and behaviors and speak up when you hear sexist, racist, or homophobic comments.

    If you are unsure of how to speak up, simply saying a statement like “I feel offended by you saying that” or simply expressing your discomfort with a matter would be a good way to start that conversation.

    If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual violence, please contact the following:

    Resources:
    National Sexual Violence Resource Center
    877-739-3895
    www.nsvrc.org

    Hotlines:
    Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
    800-656-4673
    https://rainn.org/get-help                                                                     

    The National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
    http://www.thehotline.org/help

     

     

    Stronger Than HIV

     Stigma is a cancer. If we allow it to, it eats at your soul. We can’t allow stigma to take over or overshadow us as individuals. HIV is such a small part of our DNA. We were who we are before we contracted or were born with HIV. It is nothing that is our fault and we can’t let it overshadow our goals. HIV is somethistigmang that moved in, uninvited. We have to be stronger than HIV.

     
    I am a mother. I am a grandmother and great-grandmother. No matter how great the obstacles we face, God never puts too much on anyone that can’t handle it. Believe in yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself.

    Put HIV in its place and love your life. Continue to live your life and be confident with the woman that you are. I was diagnosed 29 years ago and today I stand before you, undetectable.

    National Youth HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day!

    Every month 1,000 young people are infected with HIV and over 76,400 young people are currently living with HIV across the United States.

    National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) is a day to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people as well as highlight the amazing work young people are doing across the country carrying out to fight the HIV & AIDS epidemic.

    In the United States, one in four new HIV infections are among youth ages 13 to 24. Young people and supporters are determined to end this epidemic and on April 10th, we hope that you will help acknowledge the great work young people are already doing in the community!

    According to NYHAAD, there are 5 simple ways you can help out:
    1. Get tested!
    2. Tune into a live conversation on the impact of HIV on youth on April 10 at 5:30 PM EST on HUFFINGTON POST LIVE
    3. Follow NYHAAD on Facebook and Twitter using @YouthAIDSDay and #NYHAAD
    4. Go to the Center for Disease Control website
    5. Share NYHAAD’s new infographics on what young people need to get for an “AIDS-free generation”
    If we’re not reaching out to these young people, an AIDS-Free Generation will be almost impossible to achieve. If you are interested in doing more to help helping out, commemorating, and/ or learning more about NYHAAD, please visit: amplifyyourvoice.org/nyhaad

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