Iris House’s 14th Annual Women as the Face of AIDS Summit
Highlights Leadership and Voices of HIV+ Women
May 9, 2019
Contact: Adine Schuman, Iris House
646-548-0100 x222, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – On May 6, Iris House held its 14th Annual Women as the Face of AIDS Summit at the Bethel Gospel Assembly in Harlem. More than 250 people from New York and other cities along the East Coast attended the all-day conference, where many of the participants, presenters, and speakers were HIV+ women.
“The theme of the day – Our Thoughts. Our Voices. Our Time. – was exemplified by the great diversity and high energy of our participants. Their voices, heard loud and clear throughout the day, were passionate and informed,” said Iris House Executive Director Ingrid Floyd. “The Summit is the only event of its kind on the East Coast, with many of the sessions led and facilitated by HIV+ women.”
The Summit featured 16 workshops, two plenary sessions, and a keynote address by Robert Fullilove, EdD, Associate Dean for Community and Minority Affairs of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. In his presentation, Dr. Fullilove explored the impact of 400 years of slavery and mass incarceration on rising HIV rates in this country, observing “Public policy has as much to do with spreading HIV as anything else. “ He challenged the audience with a call to action, “Prepare observances for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown and take every opportunity to denounce structures of inequality wherever you see them.”
Another highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to four women who have made extraordinary contributions to ending the AIDS epidemic. Lorena Borjas; Gina Brown, MSW; Kimberly Canady; and Antionettea Etienne were all celebrated for their activism and accomplishments.
Nearly 20 women representing Voces Latinas, a Latina-focused community based organization located in Jackson Heights, attended the Summit. Executive Director Nathaly Rubio said, “Everyone enjoyed the full day of activities. All felt welcomed and learned a lot from each of the presenters. We are looking forward to next year!”
Pat Kelly, of A Family Affair, an Iris House partner organization, traveled from South Carolina with a group of women who presented on isolation of HIV+ women in the south. Ms. Kelly commented, “I attended the Summit many times, but this was the first year I was able to bring women with me to experience it for themselves. After hearing from so many exceptional speakers, they left motivated and inspired.”
The Women as the Face of AIDS Summit is produced annually by Iris House with the financial support of dozens of organizations, including government agencies, corporations, and community-based organizations. This year’s lead sponsors included the New York City Council, ViiV Healthcare, Gilead Sciences, Orasure Technologies, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Amida Care. Other supporters included AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Mt. Sinai Institute for Advanced Medicine, NMAC, Ryan Health, TCC Group, among others.
About Iris House
Iris House provides services for women, families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to providing family-center services that promote prevention, education and awareness, Iris House also offers practical services that address the day-today needs and reality of living with HIV/AIDS. Iris House provides nutritional counseling and meal programs, intensive case management, scatter site housing, mental health services and support groups and job life skills training. Since opening its doors in 1993, Iris House has assisted more than 1,800 individuals cope with HIV/AIDS and served tens of thousands in testing, outreach and prevention programs. In 2018 they served nearly 5,000 individuals.
For more information on Iris House and Iris House Programs, please contact Adine Schuman, Interim Director of Development at (646) 548-0100 ext. 222 or email@example.com. More information can be found at www.irishouse.org.