Iris House—a Harlem-based AIDS service organization—helps local black and Hispanic HIV-positive women over 50 find new strength and regain self-esteem, The New York Times reports (, 5/18).

The organization, which was named after late AIDS advocate Iris de la Cruz, opened its doors 15 years ago as one of the first women-focused AIDS support groups in the country. Since then, Iris House has helped countless women openly discuss the hardships—and accomplishments—that have shaped their lives with the virus.

“I’m not a ‘Yes, ma’am’ no more,” says Patricia Clouden at a meeting of the Divas, one of Iris House’s support groups. “I’m a warrior.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS is the fourth-leading cause of death for women over 45 and Hispanic women ages 35 to 44.