Sero is a network of people with HIV and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. Sero is particularly focused on ending inappropriate criminal prosecutions of people with HIV, including for non-disclosure of their HIV status, potential or perceived HIV exposure or HIV transmission.
Sero’s HIV criminalization work includes raising public awareness through community education efforts and outreach to mobilize and advocate for reform. Sero supports and has facilitated the creation of a network of people living with HIV who have been criminalized, so they can speak first-hand about the effects of criminalization on their lives. By engaging and empowering those most directly affected to advocate on their own behalf and share their compelling personal stories, we help build a growing grassroots movement to mobilize the advocacy necessary to end HIV criminalization and promote a human rights-based approach to end the HIV epidemic.
Sero also produces the biennial HIV is Not a Crime national conference and training academy on HIV criminalization, sponsors the Network Empowerment Project and works with a network of currently and formerly incarcerated people living with HIV to produce a health and wellness resource guide for those living with HIV and/or hepatitis who are incarcerated.
Sean Strub – Executive Director
The Sero Project grew out of the anti-criminalization advocacy work of Sean Strub, who serves as its executive director. Strub is a writer and long-time activist who has been living with HIV for more than 30 years. He founded POZ Magazine, served on the board of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and is the author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival (Scribner 2014). He has been engaged in HIV-related stigma, discrimination, criminalization and empowerment issues since the earliest days of the epidemic.
Robert Suttle – Assistant Director
Prior to joining Sero as its Assistant Director in March, 2012, Suttle was a case manager and prevention specialist at the Philadelphia Center, in Shreveport, Louisiana, working with young African American men who have sex with men. Robert was released from a Louisiana prison in January, 2011, after accepting a plea bargain and serving six months for a conviction under Louisiana’s so-called “Intentional Exposure to AIDS Virus” statute. Suttle was prosecuted after he and a former partner, with whom he had a contentious relationship, stopped seeing each other. The partner, who had previously threatened to file charges against Suttle, then went to the police and did so.
Tami Haught – Organizing and Training Coordinator
Tami Haught, Sero's Organizing and Training Coordinator, was diagnosed in 1993 and lived with HIV in silence for 6 years, before embracing advocacy and HIV education. She is the President of PITCH (Positive Iowans Taking Charge) and as CHAIN (Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network) Community Organizer, from 2012 to 2014, managed the successful campaign to reform Iowa’s HIV criminalization statement. Tami is also a steering committee member of the US PLHIV Caucus, a member of the Positive Women's Network -USA and was inducted into the 2020 Leading Women's Society in 2015.
Cindy Stine – Project Coordinator
Prior to working with the Sero Project, as Project Coordinator, Cindy worked for 14 years as Educational Outreach Coordinator, Empowerment and Child Advocate, and Legal and Medical Advocate for a crisis center working addressing domestic violence and sexual abuse. She sits on the board of the Upper Delaware GLBT Center, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Advisory Board and the Pike County, PA, Children and Youth Advisory Board. She also worked as a financial analyst for 23 years in New York City.
Ken Pinkela – Communications and Military Policy Director
Prior to working with the Sero Project, Ken Pinkela had a 26-year career in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, when he was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for having sexual contact without disclosing his HIV status. Despite no medical or physical evidence suggesting his guilt, he was convicted and spent 272 days in the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth. Since his release in March of 2013, Ken has become an advocate for criminalization reform, speaking to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, at Johns Hopkins School of Public and many other venues. He has appeared on Sirius XM, HuffPost Live, lobbied Congress at annual AIDSWatch events and spoke at both HIV is Not a Crime conferences.
Kamaria – Sero Florida Community Organizer
Kamaria Laffrey has been living with HIV since 2003 and currently serves as the Florida Community Organizer for the SERO Project, working to modernize Florida’s HIV specific laws through the Florida HIV Justice Coalition. She also serves on various community organizations, including the Healthy Start Coalition, the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition, Prevention Access Campaign Advisory Board, and is a member of the Positive Women’s Network - USA. Her advocacy work focuses on combating HIV criminalization, stigma, intimate partner violence and promoting treatment adherence and women and girl's health empowerment. Kamaria uses her experience of living with HIV to redefine a legacy that was once anchored in shame and turn it into one that reflects the power of faith, hope and love through embracing healing, providing inspiration and living victoriously.
Cecilia Chung – Board Chairperson
Cecilia Chung, Senior Strategist of Transgender Law Center, is the Co-Chair of the Amsterdam-based Global Network of People Living with HIV, a member of the Global Reference Group of Positive Women. She is an internationally recognized leader who advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness and access to care, LGBT equality, and human rights. Cecilia has been a vocal advocate for transgender women and people living with HIV.
In 2002, she joined the Board of the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center and currently consults with them on an innovative mobile HIV testing project for transgender youth. In 2004, as a founding producer of Trans March, she helped organize one of the world’s largest annual transgender events which has since been replicated in cities across the U.S. In 2005, she became the first Deputy Director of the Transgender Law Center and is widely credited with shaping the organization’s mission and programs. In 2013, Cecilia was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. In 2015, Cecilia launched Positively Trans, a national, constituents-led project that focus on policy advocacy and leadership development of transgender people living with HIV, especially transgender women of color.
Kerry Thomas – Board Member
Kerry Thomas is serving two consecutive 15-year sentences for having consensual sex, with condoms and an undetectable viral load, with a female partner without transmitting HIV. Kerry has become active as an educator and advocate within the walls of the Idaho correctional facility where he is housed, but his work has also become known nationally and internationally. With the cooperation of the correctional facility, Kerry joins Sero board calls, and spoke by telephone to the attendees at the first national conference on HIV criminalization in the U.S., HIV is Not a Crime, at Grinnell College in 2014. In 2016 he spoke to attendees at the second HIV is Not a Crime conference, held at the University of Alabama/Huntsville. In 2016 he also spoke at Beyond Blame (a pre-conference to the International AIDS Conference), in Durban, South Africa.
Xavier Morales – Board Member
Xavier has been involved in the HIV epidemic since he helped his partner, Sean Strub, found POZ Magazine in 1994. Several years later, he and journalist Gonzalo Aburto founded POZ en Espanol, with Xavier serving as Associate Publisher. Xavier also served on the board of directors of Homovisiones, the first Spanish-language public access cable television showed geared to Spanish-speaking LGBT people and their families. Filmed in Manhattan, Homovisiones was broadcast in markets across the U.S. and Caribbean.
Laurel Sprague – Board Member
Laurel Sprague is the Global Research Fellow on HIV, Gender, and Justice for the HIV Justice Network, working with a global consortium of community-based organizations fighting the criminalization of people living with HIV. She has been engaged in social justice efforts to respond to the rights of people with HIV since shortly after her own diagnosis in 1991, as a support group member, client, board member, activist, trainer, educator, and researcher. From 2009 to 2015, Laurel provided technical support to the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and PLHIV networks in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and North America for the PLHIV Stigma Index. Laurel received her Ph.D. in Political Science in 2015. Her current research focuses on understanding successful advocacy strategies for human rights-based legal reform in different country contexts and on the interaction between gender inequality and HIV criminalization.
The Sero Project’s Board of Directors
Sean Strub (Milford, PA) - President
Laurel Sprague (Ann Arbor, MI) - Vice President
Robert Suttle (New York, NY) - Secretary
Tami Haught (Nashua, IA) - Treasurer
Xavier Morales (Milford, PA)
Cecilia C. Chung (San Francisco, CA)
Kerry Thomas (Boise, ID)