Sophie Strachan – Co-chair

Sophie is a woman living with HIV; an activist with passion and total commitment to challenging injustice, stigma and discrimination toward vulnerable people living with HIV. Sophie received her own diagnosis in prison 12 years ago and has been in recovery from active drug addiction for over a decade.

Pieces of work include leading on a piece of research looking at ‘Are the health and social care needs of people living with HIV in UK prisons being met? An abstract of this work was presented at Washington 2012 World AIDS conference. Sophie has been instrumental in being an advocate for this population of people and has written aspects of her own story in magazines which have reached women all over the world. She mobilised the invisibility of lesbians and bi sexual women living with HIV developing a project voluntarily run. Sophie was invited to speak and present on these issues at the 2010 World AIDS conference in Vienna.

Sophie sat as a panel member contributing to the development of a fact sheet on Violence against Women & HIV for the UK Consortium on AIDS & International Development, also sharing her own experiences of gender based violence. Sophie was also invited to a panel discussion organised by Matthew Weiat Professor of Law & Policy at Birkbeck University of London showing the documentary RUINS: Chronicle of an HIV witch hunt about Greece’s forced HIV testing of women, subsequent charges and the incarceration of women. Director Zoe Mavroudi led the panel discussion.

Sophie is one of the Global Reference Group members for the WHO global survey on SRH & HR of women living with HIV; she has recently been invited to sit on a clinical governance board as a lay member with the Health & Justice clinical reference group- NHS England. Current work involves sitting as a women living with HIV /ex offender with NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) developing new guidelines on Physical health in prison.

Sophie is an advisory group member for the Global Coalition on Women & AIDS, advocating for drug users and people incarcerated living with HIV, and recently appointed as W Europe’s Dialogue Platform Advisory member.