WORLD Honors Key Leaders in Support of Women Living With HIV/AIDS—Nov. 17th, Oakland

Honorees at WORLD’s 25th Anniversary gala
November 17
th include Jesse Brooks, Keynote
Speaker Gail Wyatt

OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leaders from the community and medical fields will be honored at the 25th
Anniversary celebration for Women Organized to Respond to
Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD): Still We Rise, Celebrating 25
Years of Positive Action

The event, to be held the evening of Thursday, November 17, 2016,
at Holy Redeemer Center in Oakland, will celebrate WORLD’s twenty-five
year history of providing peer-based education, advocacy and leadership
for women living with and affected by HIV. According to WORLD Executive
Director, Cynthia Carey-Grant, WORLD will also call attention to
the persistent challenges facing HIV-positive women, including stigma
and few resources dedicated to women. Carey-Grant says the honorees have
been chosen for their significant contributions in the fight against

“If we have come a long way since 1991,” says Carey-Grant, “it is
because of the courage, hard work and commitment of these leaders in our
community, in our Bay Area. They have shown the way to health and better
lives. Our community is growing outward, expanding its reach, rising, as
the poem says, in spite of stigma and opposition. I am very proud of
what we have done, and what we will continue to do together. This
evening is about honoring our past and our future.” WORLD united with
global public health organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in
2014 to expand the Oakland nonprofit’s capacity to provide lifesaving
service to women, girls, families and communities affected by HIV in the
Greater Bay Area.

The “Busting Stigma” honoree, Jesse Brooks, is a role model to those
living with HIV in the Bay Area. Activist, filmmaker, photographer, and
columnist, Brooks long ago decided to make a difference and act
powerfully to address HIV stigma, homophobia and discrimination. As an
African American gay man living well with HIV, he co-chairs the Bay Area
State of Emergency Coalition and serves on many community advisory
boards. He says, “The way to create a better world, a better tomorrow,
lies within women. WORLD empowers women not only to deal with HIV,
stigma, but to strive to be their best selves.”

The 25th Anniversary Gala event will also feature leaders in
the medical field, who have made the Bay Area a model for access and
quality of care for people living with HIV. “Without them,” says
Carey-Grant, “we would not have made the tremendous progress for
thousands of women in Northern California, particularly women in
vulnerable populations, who live with the disease. Kaiser Permanente and
their dedicated physicians deserve the spotlight for the compassionate
and proficient care.

WORLD honorees:

VOLUNTEER – Jane Maxwell
VOLUNTEER – Nena Bridges
Kathleen Clanon, MD
UNSUNG HERO – Katherine Ruiz
INSTITUTION – Kaiser Permanente
ADVOCACY AWARD – Positive Women’s Network (PWN-USA)


Dr. Wyatt directs the Sexual Health program, the Phodiso Training
Project in South Africa, the HIV/AIDS Translational Training Program,
the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities, and is an
Associate Director of the UCLA AIDS Institute. She has been
internationally recognized for her work in Jamaica, Africa, India and
most recently, South Africa, where she conducts a longitudinal study of
the aftermath of rape among South African women. Among the six books she
has written, her best-selling book, “Stolen Women: Reclaiming our
Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives,” provides the historical roots of
violence and racism that continue to present challenges for African
Americans today. In “No More Clueless Sex,” written with Dr. Lewis
Wyatt, they both provide clinical information to assist men and women in
understanding their bodies and sexuality.

Mistress of Ceremonies for this historic celebration is Alisson
Sombredero, MD, Chief of the HIV Division, Highland Hospital. Her career
in health care and infectious diseases began in her native city of
Bogota, Colombia.

The event will feature spoken word, performance and interactive art,
local wine and spirits, food trucks and a musical performance.

Since the organization’s inception in 1991, thousands of women — women
who were not in care, women who hid their HIV status for fear of
rejection and even violence, and women who had nowhere to turn — have
found care and support from WORLD. Yet stigma remains a barrier to
services and support for many HIV-positive women, particularly women of

For more information about WORLD and the 25th Anniversary
celebration, visit


WORLD (‘Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases’) is a
diverse organization for, by, and about women living with, and at risk
for, HIV/AIDS. WORLD improves the lives and health of women, girls,
families and communities affected by HIV through peer-based education,
wellness services, advocacy, and leadership development. We envision a
world where women, girls, and families affected by HIV and AIDS have the
tools, support, and knowledge to live healthy and productive lives with
dignity. Our vision is rooted in a commitment to human rights and
wellness with the understanding that this includes freedom from
violence; access to housing; quality healthcare; food security;
physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing; education and economic

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS
healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care
and/or services to more than 650,000 individuals in 37 countries
worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe,
and Asia. Additional information is available at,
find us on Facebook:
and follow us on Twitter & Instagram: @AIDSHealthcare


Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases
Cynthia Carey-Grant
Executive Director
Cell: 510-914-1575
Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD)
(Ivy) Quiroz

Policy and Advocacy Manager
ph: 510-986-0340
x 4062
cell: 909-953-0478

Communications Director
Office: 323-308-1833