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Why Are HIV/AIDS Organization Leaders Commonly Men?

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Carol Poore describes why it is rare for a woman to be running a national HIV/AIDS organization.

Carol Poore:
I think it is very rare that you see a woman leading an HIV/AIDS organization, and why is that? Well, HIV and AIDS has only been really known and diagnosed for the last 30 years or less, and so the origination of these organizations that sprung up across the United States and the world to deal with HIV/AIDS primarily came from an activist point of view and from gay men who were early, they were diagnosed earlier on.

And so I may be one of only three or four women, at best, running an HIV/AIDS organization across United States, and when I first had the opportunity to step into this agency I had some skeptics and people that were really nasty about wondering why would I want to go and run a gay man’s organization, and I had just about fell off my chair. I thought, “Don’t people get it? HIV/AIDS is not just a gay man’s disease; it’s a public health issue. There are women; there are children; there are pediatric cases.”

Now in the United States, yes, 70% of those impacted by HIV/AIDS are gay men. In the world however, it’s I think nearly 68% women and children in countries like India and Africa. So it’s a worldwide public health issue and the idea that I should feel stigmatized because I am a woman helping to run an organization that reaches out to women, men and children, I was really excited to take that challenge up and dispel the myth that HIV/AIDS is just only a gay man’s disease.

About Carol Poore:
Carol A. Poore is president and CEO of Phoenix-based Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the oldest and largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS research, clinical trial and education resource center in the U.S. Southwest. As president and CEO of Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Poore leads clinical trial research operations, educators, and a community outreach team including more than 300 volunteers, leading strategy and partnership with the U.S. Southwest’s biomedical research and community-based healthcare organizations.

Visit Carol Poore at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS

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