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Book Overview

Sistah’s Speak is an anthology, a collection of nonfiction stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, personal narratives, and critical essays from women living with HIV/AIDS. This project seeks to create a space for women to share their stories in their own voice, with an open heart as a vehicle for chronicling the experiences of women living with HIV/AIDS. The goal of this project is to empower the reader, support the soul, and uplift the spirit of women living with HIV/AIDS and the collective communities each one represents.



“Women living with HIV have always been instrumental in advancing change and securing justice for all people living with and affected by HIV; their individual and collective herstories are a vital record of this movement. Assembled here for the first time, in this impressive volume, are dozens of dispatches from the frontlines of HIV survival and thriving in the U.S. and around the world.


In this collection, readers will get intimately acquainted with some of the most prolific, honest, humorous, fierce, lyrical voices from our communities. Longtime readers of HIV community media will recognize classics from the archives of outlets like The Well Project’s A Girl Like Me blog and, featured here alongside new compositions. The warmth, dedication, and expertise of these writers shine through this gathering of personal essays, day-to-day reflections, political statements, poetry, memoir — and even a work of speculative fiction, looking back on our present moment from a future without an HIV epidemic.


In the midst of a political climate marked by willful ignorance and patriarchal posturing, it is refreshing to read the words of leaders who claim the courage to be vulnerable as part of their power. These authors share layered, complicated, often tender narratives of intimacy; sex; love; loss; parenthood; passion; fear; friendship; creativity; community. So many of these pieces break silence around the trauma and abuse that women living with HIV too commonly experience, before and after diagnosis. So many of these works communicate the urgency of ending the criminalization, violence, and reproductive oppression that threaten our sisters’ safety and wellbeing. So many write of HIV diagnosis as their gateway to finding their voice, their role in advocacy, their will to resist and transform systems that negatively affect their lives and those of women like them.


These voices, above all, proclaim to their sisters: You have immense power, and profound beauty; and you are NOT alone.”


Olivia G. Ford, HIV community editor, writer, and consultant; contributing editor,; former communications director, Positive Women’s Network – USA


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