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WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases), founded in 1991, was created to fill a gap. When virtually no services were available for women living with HIV, WORLD brought women together in support, solidarity, and recognition of the fact that women were living with HIV and women’s realities were hidden in the shadows of the epidemic.
WORLD has long known women’s voices must be heard and women’s priorities must be acknowledged if necessary resources and services are going to be made available. WORLD is also aware that the impact of HIV on women is unique in its direct impact on children, families, and the other community members women tend to hold up in our society. Today, 20+ years after our founding, WORLD remains committed to initial efforts and has expanded to provide comprehensive client services and community organizing. This includes but is not limited to peer advocacy services, outreach, a speaker’s bureau, client and community retreats, and a policy/advocacy department that aims to improve the quality of women’s lives by supporting HIV-positive women as leaders and sparking federal policy change.
More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, WORLD remains a crucial organizing force of women living with and/or affected by HIV working in partnership with a broad community of support. WORLD’s motto is “You Are Not Alone” and WORLD as an agency also knows we are not alone. WORLD prioritizes close connections to allied agencies and supporters, and remains here as always with arms outstretched to both request and offer support. The WORLD office is located in Oakland, California and holds connections to national and international support networks.
We envision a world where women, girls, and families affected by HIV and AIDS have the tools, support and knowledge to live healthy and productive lives with dignity. Our vision is rooted in a commitment to human rights and wellness with the understanding that this includes freedom from violence; access to housing; quality healthcare; food security; physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing; education and economic justice.