Sylvia Petretti

HIV-positive activist

Silvia Petretti is a woman living with HIV and an advocate for the human rights of people living with HIV. She was diagnosed in 1997 and since 2005 she has been openly living with HIV, because she believes it is a powerful tool to challenge the stigma and prejudices directed towards this demographic.  

Silvia has been working with  Positively UK since 2000 and is now leading the organization as Deputy CEO. Silvia advocacy started by focusing on the intersection of HIV, gender, drug use, criminalisation, and women’s rights. She coordinated self-help groups for women with HIV who used drugs, and provided peer support to incarcerated women for over a decade. Silvia is co-author of the chapter on reducing new HIV diagnosis among women who inject drugs in the UNAIDS report Women Out Loud, as well as an author of theSHE toolkit:  a manual to enable women living with HIV in Europe to develop peer support services.  The manual has been translated in 10 languages.

Most recently, Silvia represented the Global Network of People Living with HIV at the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in 2011 by giving a keynote speech, and has given evidence to the House of Lords for the report: HIV No Vaccine No Cure.  Silvia writes a blog  on HIV and Activism: Speaking Up, and has contributed to popular online media such as  Open Democracy and Huffington Post.

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