Love at the Intersections: Sisterlove, Inc. and Black Women's HIV/AIDS Care

Friday, January 4, 2019: 2:30 PM
Williford C (Hilton Chicago)
Dan Royles, Florida International University
This paper will examine the work of Sisterlove, Inc., an HIV/AIDS service organization based in Atlanta that takes a consciously intersectional approach to addressing the disease among women of African descent worldwide. Early on in her career as an AIDS activist, Sisterlove founder Dázon Dixon Diallo took part in a campaign by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) demanding that the Centers for Disease Control revise the clinical definition of AIDS to include the infections that women living with the disease often experienced. That campaign addressed the failure of research scientists, as well as some activists, to think intersectionally about the disease. By the end of the 1990s, Diallo would also become involved in Sistersong, an effort to coordinate the HIV/AIDS work of women of color groups representing different backgrounds, as well as efforts to shore up the capacity of women in sub-Saharan Africa to formulate their own responses to the epidemic. In each of these scenarios, how did Diallo, along with Sisterlove staff and volunteers, negotiate the complex task of delivering HIV prevention education and services to women across lines of race, class, education, and geography? Where did they succeed, and where did they fall short? What does their story tell us about the way that the idea of "intersectionality" has taken root in public health and social justice circles in recent decades?
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