Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS


Table of Contents

About the WRI


Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI) participants.

Critical questions about HIV/AIDS in women remain unanswered, despite the fact that women represent more than half of all new HIV cases globally and approximately one quarter of people living with HIV in the United States. Until these questions are addressed, we are limited in our ability to design and implement HIV research and policy that will have a meaningful impact on women living with and vulnerable to HIV.

The Women’s Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI), founded by The Well Project in 2003, is a multidisciplinary and multisectoral effort dedicated to identifying gaps and recommending solutions in areas of HIV research and policy of particular significance to women living with and vulnerable to HIV across the gender spectrum. Each year, the WRI convenes a meeting to address a specific topic area, bringing together WRI attendees who represent the broad range of fields engaged in this work.

The nature of the WRI enables the group to tackle challenges from a diversity of perspectives. Because the WRI addresses topics through a problem-solving lens, participants are able to go beyond articulating the issues to developing a series of tangible recommendations that have the potential to meaningfully advance the field.

Current WRI Participants

Learn about current WRI participants.

WRI Annual Meeting Reports

Read summary reports from every WRI meeting since its inception in 2003.



Collage of Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI) participants.

Participants at WRI 2023 and 2024. Photo credit: Stephanie Gross.


Attendees to the annual convenings are invited each year based on the meeting topic and their particular expertise; they represent the diverse stakeholders committed to accelerating understanding of HIV in women, including:

  • Community members (women living with HIV and other advocates)
  • Providers
  • Researchers
  • Academicians
  • Policymakers
  • Industry representatives

WRI Impact

In the more than two decades since the WRI was initiated by The Well Project, it has been instrumental in effecting change in HIV research and policy among women. WRI attendees have formed collaborations, implemented fellowships, developed study protocols to address novel basic science questions, created cross-disciplinary teams for enhanced study hypotheses and design, mentored young investigators, and worked with policymakers to ensure that the needs of women living with and vulnerable to HIV are consistently addressed.

The Well Project regularly undertakes efforts to amplify the work initiated at WRI meetings. Examples include:

  • Conducted presentations at research, policy, and advocacy meetings, including AIDS 2018 and AIDS 2022, HIVR4P, USCHA, ACOG, ANAC, the International Workshop on HIV and Women, Let’s Talk about Sex, National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment, and IAPAC’s Adherence Conference
  • Created and executed ongoing programs to advance issues identified in WRI meetings, including breast/chestfeeding and HIV, sexual and reproductive health among women living with and vulnerable to HIV, and aging across the lifespan of women living with HIV, including lifetime survivors
  • Developed and advanced relationships with federal leadership and academic institutions, providing increased pathways for the inclusion of women living with HIV in policy and research

WRI Leadership


Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI) participants.

WRI leaders, advisory group members, and 2024 meeting co-facilitators. Photo credit: Stephanie Gross.


As a program of The Well Project, the WRI is overseen by executive director Krista Martel and led by WRI director Jenna Conley. The WRI receives guidance from an advisory group made up of previous WRI participants with deep knowledge of the meeting who provide insights and counsel into annual WRI meeting planning. Current advisory group members include:

  • Nancie Archin, PhD, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Judith D. Auerbach, PhD, University of California San Francisco
  • Dawn Averitt, The Well Project
  • Jennifer Kates, PhD, KFF
  • Linda Scruggs, MHS, Ribbon
  • Andrea Weddle, MSW, HIV Medicine Association


Members of The Well Project community at USCHA 2022.

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