You might be wondering what HIVLoveWins is. Good question. And it's a good story.
When I started working on Positively Negative in 2011, it was Dr. Deborah Cohan at UC San Francisco who I spoke to first.
"Now is the golden era for serodiscordant couples," Dr. Cohan told me. I was hooked. At the time, I had no idea how hooked I'd become.
Fast forward to 2014, and Positively Negative was finally completed, and I was in Sonoma, California, with a friend. That weekend morning, I woke up a little early, snuck away from breakfast and shut the bedroom door for a conference call with Shannon Weber and Caroline Watson. Both were featured in Positively Negative and both do powerhouse work for HIV-affected couples looking to have children.
I got the idea to do a Twitter chat, but how would we find each other? We had to come up with a hashtag that people could search to follow the chat and to communicate with one another. But what should it be? #positivelynegative was way too long. #HIVandbabymakes3, the original name of the book, was also too long. We started throwing ideas out there. #powertothepregnant: too long. #women&HIV: misleading.
Finally, I think it was Shannon who said, #HIVLoveWins
HIV love wins. Caroline liked it. So did I. I subtitled Positively Negative "Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory Over HIV" because my reporting taught me that it wasn't just science that triumphed over HIV. It was the couples' love for each other and their eventual children. Yes. HIV love can win in this new era of HIV. We went with it.
We've held two #HIVLoveWins Twitter chats so far (apologies that there's no Storify for the second chat--there was a glitch in the software that lost a bunch of the tweets), both times drawing encouragement and shy but hopeful HIV-affected couples. We may yet have more.
So when it came time to choose a URL for the book, I thought and thought and finally realized we already have one: HIV Love Wins. That's how the name came about. But #HIVLoveWins is bigger than Positively Negative. It's about the couples--couples in the book and also couples I've spoken to since then, and couples who share their stories with Shannon every day in her work as director of BAPAC, now called HIVE. It's about intimacy. It's about the science, which continues to evolve. Shannon and Caroline continue to play a huge role in its evolution.
For more about Shannon and Caroline's work, check out:
HIVEonline.org is the new home for the rebranded and re-imagined Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center. There you can find specific programs for:
Have questions about conception options in the context of HIV? Shannon invites you to email her: firstname.lastname@example.org
HIVE also offers a directory of California providers willing to prescribe Truvada, the only drug approved by the FDA to prevent HIV transmission. (If you're a provider who prescribes Truvada, click the "Register a PrEP Provider" link on the upper right hand corner of the home page to be added to the directory.)
Caroline is also the Tweet chat hostess for the #WeAreAllWomen Twitter chat, which brings together trans and non-trans women to talk about what we have in common, build community and promote health and happiness in all women. Check out the chats here:
But those aren't the only resources. Check out these other places to find support, community and information:
For HIV-affected couples in which the woman has HIV and the man is negative, Positive Women's Network is a great resource. In addition to the national office, they have many local chapters with women in your area who can provide local resources. And for media people looking for how to write well about HIV, the organization offers this primer on how to write about the disease--and the people living with it--without perpetuating stigma.
Based in Atlanta, SisterLove started providing support groups for women with HIV and has expanded to be a major voice for women at risk for and living with HIV. Its founder and guiding light is Dazon Dixon Diallo, a knowledgeable and compassionate voice for women, especially women of color in the South.
This New Orleans-based organization advocates for women's reproductive rights and justice, which includes women at risk for HIV and those living with HIV. Excellent resources, and excellent insights into women's experiences in the South.