LEADING WOMEN’S SOCIETY
The Leading Women's Society (LWS) is comprised of outstanding women from across the country that have lived with HIV for 20 years or more while serving as change agents and advocates in their local communities.
The members of LWS are chosen because of their commitment to raising awareness using their own experience to champion accessible HIV testing, prevention education, and more women-centered research.
Each year, SisterLove honors 20 women who have lived with HIV for at least 20 years at our signature event known simply as 20/20.
The honorees then become members of the LWS Society which today proudly consists of a membership of over 200 women from all different walks of life who have a deep-rooted desire to eradicate HIV.
LWS leaders represent a myriad of professions including HIV Prevention Specialists, Executive Directors, Artists, Ministers, Counselors, Spokespeople, Homemakers, and active advocates on Capitol Hill.
INTRODUCING OUR 2022 HONOREES
THE PANDORA SINGLETON ALLY AWARD
Dr. Tonia Poteat is a clinician and social scientist with more than 20 years of experience as a healthcare provider and ten years of community-engaged research with deep roots in AIDS activism, education, and patient care.
Her journey began as a volunteer with an AIDS service organization while in college. As a National Health Service Corps Scholar, she spent the first few years after graduation providing care at a methadone clinic and a community health center in New York. From New York, she went on to Kansas City to provide HIV care in the state’s poorest county. At the same time, she completed a year-long residency program in liver disease, specializing in Hepatitis C.
Homesick for the South, Dr. Poteat accepted a position with Grady’s Infections Disease Program (IDP), the country’s largest comprehensive HIV care and treatment program. In addition to providing care to HIV+ women, she spearheaded their first HIV-Hepatitis co-infection treatment program.
But it was a vacation to South Africa in 2003 that changed the course of her career. Moved by the enormous health disparities and inspired by the burgeoning international AIDS movement.
A few months after her return, she accepted a position with the Global AIDS Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the Senior Technical Advisor for Key Populations in the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Office from 2012-2014.
Today, Dr. Poteat is an assistant professor with the Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the Center for AIDS Research in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her research, teaching, and clinical practice focus on improving LGBTQ health and HIV outcomes. She pays particular attention to the role of intersectional stigma in driving inequities faced by transgender adults. Dr. Poteat continues to devote her clinical practice to providing compassionate, knowledgeable medical care to people with HIV - never losing sight of what matters most.
ABSOLUTE LOVE COMMUNITY AWARD
"SisterLove has sustained her commitment to the mission of achieving full sexual and reproductive justice as a means to end HIV in our communities. We could not have done this for more than 31 years without the strength and support of dozens of partners, collaborators, and sponsors. This year, we are adding an award to the 2020 Leading Women Society Awards and Institute - Introducing the Absolute Love Community Partner Award. This special acknowledgment is our lovenote to a community partner who has shown and shared dedicated support for Women Living with HIV in our programs, as well as the 2020 LWS, for at least 20 years."
Women living with HIV are often overlooked in the conversations and decision-making surrounding treatment and prevention.
Too often, individuals living with HIV have nowhere to turn when it comes to accessing the resources they may need outside of testing and treatment and may feel isolated in their own community.
The LWS helps provide resources and support to those who use their voices to help others and help erase stigma surrounding HIV.