ICW is the voice of, and represents women living with HIV, in all our diversity. We work in 120 countries and through 10 regional networks: Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), North America Southern Africa, and West Africa. We are committed to addressing the multiple oppressions experienced by women living with HIV across the globe. We believe that our member’s experiences should inform what we do and how we do it – to this end we ensure a bottom up approach – where our members voices shape our agenda. ICW Global, (our International Steering Committee (ISC) and Global Office) translates the practical needs and goals of our members into strategies and action that achieve our advocacy goals and objectives. We collectively challenge the necessary structures, systems, policies and programs in the HIV response and beyond in order to address the underlying concerns affecting women living with HIV and secure our needs, rights and hopes.
We are a women’s organization, with a highly skilled membership, who use a gender framework and feminist analysis to understand our challenges and determine solutions.
We have big hearts and a strong desire to change the world for women living with HIV. We speak to women and mobilize them to action as the only global network for women living with HIV by women living with HIV. This is our strength. While gender inequalities may create disparities outside our network, inside ICW, it is gender that brings us together creating a safe place for us to share stories and experiences.
Today, over 20 years later, ICW continues to be the only network run by and for women living with HIV. There are over 15,000 members of the ICW network that inform our agenda, volunteer to share their lived experiences, and build networks of support in their local communities. Our members are brought together by a shared experience of living with HIV and the desire to advocate for our rights and our health and the rights of other women living with HIV.
ICW has been a collective force for women living with HIV that has gained respect and credibility over its 20-year history. ICW has established a strong presence in global forums earning a voting seat on the International AIDS Conference Coordinating Committee and Consultative Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Our global advocacy program advocates for the needs of women, young women, adolescents and girls living with HIV in key global decision making spaces and ensures that women living with HIV have a voice in development of policy that affects our lives.
ICW’s advocacy has brought to light critical human rights abuses experienced by women living with HIV including violations of sexual and reproductive rights such as forced and coerced sterilization, and addressed the critical issues of stigma and discrimination, criminalization, domestic violence and other forms of private and institutionalized violence against women living with HIV. Our efforts have spurred litigation, action and a global dialogue about the human and sexual, reproductive health rights of women living with HIV.
Recognizing that ICW is also part of a broader movement for health and women’s rights, the network also established strategic alliances with other women‘s networks and organizations, including key players in the fight against HIV and AIDS and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) around the world.
ICW Global has mentored and supported regional networks to be established under the ICW umbrella. These regional networks have given women the ability to advocate for their specific regional issues while being supported by the larger global networks to push issues. In addition to this, in 2011 ICW began the first international Chapter for Young Women, Adolescents and Girls, building off of ICW’s history of Young Women’s Dialogues. This chapter has created a space for young women to advocate for their unique rights, while being mentored by other women in the HIV movement. It also recognizes the diversity of needs of women living with HIV along the continuum of their lifespan.
ICW has conducted research, produced and provided input to many publications over the years – often to fill the gap on issues facing women living with HIV. Some of these publications include:
- The Positive Women’s Survival Kit which was translated into Spanish, French and Portuguese
- Understanding the perspectives and/ or experiences of women living with HIV regarding Option B+ in Uganda and Malawi. A research report in partnership with GNP+.
- Diamonds: Stories of Women from the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV Asia and the Pacific. ICW follow this effort with reports to the Commission on the Status of Women highlighting forced and coerced sterilization and abortion across the Asia Pacific Region.
- Vital Voices: Finding from consolations of people living with HIV on the prevention of vertical transmission. A research report in partnership with GNP+.
- ICW newsletter in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese and distributed globally.