HIV/AIDS Movement Has Lost Historic Voice in NAPWA

Organization Played Critical Role in Empowering People Living with AIDS, Implementing Historic Denver Principles

nmac_blocksWashington, DC – The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), the first national organization to give voice to those affected by the epidemic, announced yesterday that it will close its doors permanently.  NAPWA was founded in 1983 to implement the Denver Principles, a revolutionary declaration of empowerment outlining the principle that people living with AIDS were not victims or patients, but individuals who deserved a voice in the policy and public health discussions that impacted their lives.

“For three decades, NAPWA has been a persistent and courageous voice representing the millions of Americans impacted by this epidemic,” said National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Deputy Executive Director and former NAPWA board member, Daniel C. Montoya.  “As someone who was diagnosed with HIV early in the epidemic, I remember all too well the stigma and fear that permeated our nation and our culture.  Having a national organization representing the interests of those living with this disease and empowering them to demand respect and action was critical.  An integral part of our movement’s history has now gone.”

“People living with HIV or AIDS have lost a powerful voice in NAPWA,” added NMAC Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey.  “As someone who has been living with HIV for ten years, as well as a former employee of NAPWA, I know the exceptional work that they did to support people living with this disease each and everyday.  But while we are disappointed by this news, our work must continue.  NMAC is committed to ensuring that the voices of those living with HIV will continue to be heard here in Washington and across the country.”

“As President Obama noted in his State of Union address, an AIDS-free generation is finally within reach,” concluded NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata.  “But this cannot be done with out the full participation and strong leadership of the entire HIV community, particularly people living with HIV or AIDS.  As one of the founders of NAPWA, this is a true loss for our movement.  The organization may have closed, but its early leadership and vision laid the foundation for so much of our work.  I will always remember and appreciate their strength and compassion during those dark, early days of the epidemic.”


Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-3330,