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The eighth annual POZ 100 list is dedicated this year to celebrating women. In the United States, women represent about a quarter of people living with HIV. Clearly, the idea that HIV affects only men who have sex with men is a myth. That said, because of this long-standing myth, women are often ignored or dismissed as an afterthought in the larger discussions surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The theme of this year’s POZ 100 arose from the need to better spotlight the contributions of women in the fight against the virus. To that end, this year’s list includes both women living with HIV and women who are HIV negative. The list includes women from across the country and from all walks of life. Some of them you may know, many of them you won’t.

In 2016, as we looked ahead to what the 2017 POZ 100 theme could be, we expected that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election, as most people believed would happen. In honor of having the first woman president of the United States, we thought it would be fitting for the 2017 POZ 100 to celebrate women.

Despite Clinton’s defeat, the reality of Donald Trump’s presidency only made our decision to honor women that much more urgent. Although Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act have failed—thus far—the health of women is clearly under siege. Look no further than the recent rollback of an Obama administration rule requiring birth control coverage for evidence that the siege against women will continue.

We’re excited to present this year’s list. As always, the POZ 100 is not intended to be definitive. No list can ever be. However, we do believe that this year’s list is fairly representative of the women nationwide who have dedicated themselves, often without much recognition, to improving the lives of all people living with HIV and to preventing transmission of the virus. We’re sure you will be as inspired as we are by the passion of this year’s honorees!

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On the cover (from left): Grissel Granados, Evany Turk, Teresa Sullivan, Venita Ray, Arianna Lint, Stacy Jennings, Barb Cardell, and Sharon DeCuir are members of the Positive Women’s Network-USA (PWN-USA). The national organization inspires, informs and mobilizes women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve their lives and uphold their rights. Click here for more information and to find out how you can get involved.

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot:

To read the 2016 POZ 100, click here

To read the 2015 POZ 100, click here.

To read the 2014 POZ 100, click here.

To read the 2013 POZ 100, click here.
To read the 2012 POZ 100, click here.
To read the 2011 POZ 100, click here.
To read the 2010 POZ 100, click here.