Between March and May of 2015, the Sero Project conducted a survey to inform the development of its Network Empowerment Project. SERO is a national network of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. Its Network Empowerment Project (NEP) is designed to re-invigorate the PLHIV self-empowerment movement that originally emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the US.

In those early years of the epidemic, people living with HIV and AIDS came together in networks to provide each other with emotional and practical support. The sense of empowerment they experienced within these networks inspired members to engage in collective advocacy to demand their rights and counter AIDS-related stigma. Around the country, “People with AIDS Coalitions” played a key role in facilitating the creation of community-based HIV/AIDS services and research organizations at a time when other health-related NGOs were afraid or reluctant to serve PLHIV. Many of the original PLHIV networks faded away in the late 1990s, after the AIDS service organizations (ASOs) they had created were professionalized and the advent of antiretroviral treatment (ART) changed HIV/AIDS from an inevitable death sentence to a chronic illness for those with continuous access to treatment.

The fundamental need for PLHIV networks, however, has not diminished. Instead, it has evolved. While the need to demand access to basic services has lessened, the need to advocate for the human rights of PLHIV has expanded. To learn more, download the resource by clicking the button below.

You can also view the results as a presentation below: