Women of Wisdom (W.O.W.)
WOW is where we are accepted, not stigmatized, where we find unity and love. We can laugh together, cry together, have great memories and support each other in a safe, non-judgmental environment. To remove a sense of isolation and know we are not alone… – WOW Creed (2015)
Women of Wisdom (WOW) is a community of sisterhood for HIV positive women. WOW is based on a former support program for HIV+ women in Portland, known as WIAR, or Women’s Inner-city AIDS Resource. When WIAR could no longer keep its doors open, Quest’s Women of Wisdom (WOW) Program opened in 2005 with the help of the Positive Women’s Task Force, representing a consortium of government and non-profit community based organizations that came together to answer a dire need for support services for women living with HIV/AIDS.
Since 2005, the Women of Wisdom program has offered psychosocial support services that unite, educate, and empower positive women. Thanks to the support of Ryan White funding, WOW has served as a safe space for HIV+ women and their children for over 10 years. Today, WOW remains the only program of its kind in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
The overarching goals of the WOW program are to strengthen the capacity of women living with HIV to self-manage their own disease progression, reduce social isolation, promote community and strengthen social support networks, and employ a holistic health approach that incorporates social, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical wellness.
With the host of services and programs offered through Quest Center, positive women have opportunities to make connections with others, to build friendships, to escape isolation and stigma, to manage their health, and to become advocates for their own health care. Services include:
- Weekly support groups
- One-on-one peer support from other positive women
- Empowerment and life-skills workshops
- Individual and group counseling sessions
- Community meals
- Fun monthly activity nights
- Free childcare during WOW activities
- Transportation assistance
- Access to Quest services including non-opioid pain management, mental health therapy, trauma counseling, alcohol and drug treatment, yoga, acupuncture, and wellness retreats
The WOW group meets every Wednesday in the Quest Center East Kitchen from 4-7pm. To learn more about WOW, please contact Katy Byrtus at 503.238.520. ext. 321 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org