Mission

Sero centers PLHIV leadership to end HIV criminalization, mass incarceration, racism and social injustice by supporting inclusive PLHIV networks to improve policy outcomes, advance human rights and promote healing justice.

 

What We Do

Sero is focused on ending inappropriate criminal prosecutions of PLHIV, including for non-disclosure of their HIV status, potential or perceived HIV exposure or HIV transmission and on building and supporting PLHIV networks.

 

Sero’s HIV criminalization work includes raising public awareness through community education efforts and outreach to mobilize and advocate for reform in individual states, particularly those with HIV-specific statutes.  By engaging and empowering those most directly affected to advocate on our own behalf and share our 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’s Network Empowerment Project facilitates the creation and strengthening of PLHIV networks, including those that are oriented toward advocacy, education, treatment access, prevention, recreation or for social purposes.  Through networks, PLHIV are able to define our own agenda, select and hold accountable leadership of our own choosing, speak with collective voices and improve policy and healthcare outcomes.

 

Sero produces the biennial HIV is Not a Crime national training academy that provides training, expert assistance and support to mobilize intersectional advocacy to end the criminalization of disenfranchised communities and build grassroots PLHIV networks.

 

Sero is one of the founders of HIV Justice Worldwide, a global HIV criminalization resource and advocacy hub and through HJW and Latinx+ (a U.S.-based network of Latinx PLHIV), coordinates anti-criminalization efforts in Mexico and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  Sero’s work with incarcerated PLHIV produces Turn It Up! Staying Strong Inside, a magazine-format resource and wellness guide written, edited and illustrated mostly by people who are or have been incarcerated.

Staff


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.

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.

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.

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.

Gonzalo Aburto – Director of  Latin America Initiative

Gonzalo Aburto is Sero's Director of Latin America Initiative and is a co-founder of Latinx+, a network of Latinx people living with HIV. He was the founding editor of POZ en Español and the executive producer of La Nueva Alternativa, a weekly radio program at WBAI (www.wbai.org). Gonzalo founded Los Mexicanos and Águila o Sol, the first publications directed to the Mexican community and of HomoVisiones, a Spanish-language magazine-format cable television program for the Latinx LGBT community. He was a member of Activistas Latinos Contra el SIDA the Latino group of ACTUP New York. Also executive editor  and co-founder of , a magazine on HIV / AIDS. He worked in the newspaper La Prensa, the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S.  Originally from Mexico,  Gonzalo has been based in New York since 1986.

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.

The Sero Project's Board of Director's


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.

Sean Strub – Board President


Robert Suttle – Board Secretary


Tami Haught – Board Treasurer


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.

The Sero Project’s Board of Directors

Sean Strub (Milford, PA) - 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)