Women’s HIV/Aids group campaigns for activists

A new charity supporting women affected by HIV/ Aids has embarked on a recruitment drive for high-profile female activists.

Launched last week at the House of Commons with a speech by former Irish president Mary Robinson, Sofia describes itself as 'the UK's leading women's charitable organisation fighting against HIV and Aids'.

Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, it was founded by a group of influential women including Girl Guides CEO Lesley Bulman-Lever, the head of Christian Aid's HIV unit Dr Rachel Baggaley, and International Community of Women Living with HIV/Aids chair Dr Alice Wellbourn.

Co-founder Sara Tye, MD of agency redhead PR, said Sofia was set up as a forum for change, rather than a 'traditional' fundraising charity, to avoid conflict with other HIV/Aids groups.

Its stated priorities are influencing policy makers, improving access to treatment, and ending the stigma surrounding women with HIV/Aids.

'We are bringing together highly influential women across business, government, medicine and the media who are interested in tackling the problems of HIV and Aids,' said Tye.

'We want our lobbying network model to be used around the world, from the US to developing countries,' she added.

Tye said a media relations campaign around the recruitment of  women in opinion-forming roles would focus on business and charity press, with case studies of successful women being targeted at
national and consumer press.

Website www.sofiaforum.org has also been set up to support the charity.

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