AIDS United To Develop Regional Advocacy Networks,  Hires Grassroots Organizer Jessica Terlikowski

Washington, D.C. – February 16, 2011 – To develop and implement Regional Advocacy Networks that mobilize communities on state and federal  HIV/AIDS policy issues throughout the United States, AIDS United has hired grassroots organizer and HIV/AIDS policy advocate  Jessica Terlikowski.  Terlikowski will assume her role of Director of Regional Organizing on March 1, 2011.

Terlikowski comes to AIDS United from AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), where since 2006 she has worked to ensure that people living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS have the tools and knowledge necessary to inform and advocate for the policies that impact their lives.  In her role at AFC, Terlikowski launched, nurtured, and oversaw diverse local and regional coalitions that advocate for harm reduction programs and policies, increased access to existing and emerging HIV prevention tools, and food security.  Additionally, through her work with the Midwest AIDS Policy Alliance, Terlikowski enabled greater coordination, communication, and exchanges of successful advocacy strategies and issue expertise among Midwest HIV/AIDS organizations.    Terlikowski has provided support and technical assistance to Midwest and Southern AIDS organizations seeking to develop and implement advocacy strategies to advance sound HIV/AIDS policies in their respective states. 

The goal of the AIDS United Regional Advocacy Networks is to build grassroots capacity, leadership, and power in every U.S. region so as to advance policies at the state and federal levels that improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and end the epidemic.  AIDS United will collaborate with national, regional, state, and local leaders, community-based partners, and people living with HIV to develop its Regional Advocacy Networks.  

“The attack on health care reform, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program crisis, looming cuts to state and federal HIV/AIDS programs, and the need to ensure successful implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy require an infusion of energy and resources in grassroots organizing in each region of the country,” said Terlikowski.  “Through supporting existing advocacy efforts and launching new ones, AIDSUnited’s Regional Advocacy Networks will strengthen our community’s ability to effectively mobilize people living with HIV/AIDS and AIDS service organizations around these and other critical policy issues.” 

Terlikowski is co-founder of and has been chairing the Chicago Female Condom Campaign, a partnership that advocates for increasing access, affordability, availability, awareness, and utilization of female condoms.  She also has been directing AFC’s Sterile Syringe Access and Disposal program and has been coordinating the statewide system of needle exchange programs known as the Illinois Coalition of Harm Reduction Providers.

Robin Webb, Executive Director of Brave New Day, an AIDS organization in Jackson, Mississippi, worked with Terlikowski to create a statewide advocacy network for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, said, “It is one thing to be a seasoned expert.  It's another thing for a seasoned expert to offer what Jessica offers, true engagement,” Webb said.  “There are over 10,000 HIV positive individuals in Mississippi who have long needed caring advocates like Jessica who see the big picture, in terms of creating a statewide support network and provide viable suggestions and evidence-based tools in getting us there. Each and every one of our constituents will benefit from this.”

“It has been a pleasure collaborating with Jessica; she has provided great assistance and advice with advocacy efforts in our area, said Tami Haught, President of Positive Iowans Taking Charge (PITCH). “Jessica provided pivotal guidance for CHAIN’s (Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network) Day on the Hill.  By sharing best practices we have learned from each other's experiences and saved time by not repeating mistakes.”

“We are so excited to have Jessica coming on board with AIDS United to develop our Regional Advocacy Networks,” said AIDS United President and CEO Mark Ishaug. “With her unwavering passion and dedication, as well as her keen policy insight and extensive community mobilizing experience, Jessica is the ideal person to work with these regional, state and local partners to help build and strengthen an effective and sustainable movement of HIV/AIDS advocates all over the country.”