• Steering Committee:


  • Description

    The US PLHIV Caucus (also known as “the HIV Caucus” or “Caucus”) is comprised of organizations, coalitions, networks or client groups of people living with HIV, (“institutions”) and independent advocates living with HIV. The HIV Caucus collectively speaks with a unified voice for people living with HIV in the U.S. At present the HIV Caucus is an unincorporated association of interested parties and does not have a corporate non-profit status.

    Steering Committee

    The Caucus is governed by a Steering Committee that speaks and acts for the Caucus. Steering Committee participation is only open to Caucus members.
    The Steering Committee is comprised of not more than (18) members, including five (5) Ex-officio institutional members, ten (10) other members elected from the membership (Institutional representatives or Individual Advocates), and up to three (3) appointed representatives from the PLHIV community as determined by the Steering Committee. An appointed Steering Committee member serves for a one-year term and at the discretion of the Steering Committee such appointments may be extended for one additional year. Appointed Steering Committee members may also choose to run for election to the Steering Committee.
    Ex-Official Institution Representation: The five ex-officio institutions serving on the Steering Committee are all national networks of people with HIV that operate autonomously as independent entities. The current five (5) ex-officio members are:

    1. International Community of Women with HIV/AIDS – North America (ICW-NA)
    2. Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA)
    3. SERO Project 
    4. Global Network of People Living with AIDS – North America (GNP+/NA) 
    5. Open ex-officio

    From time to time, the Steering Committee will review the participation and eligibility of Ex-officio institutions. As other national networks emerge, they may be considered by the Steering Committee for inclusion as Ex-officio members on the Steering Committee; however, at no point shall the Steering Committee be comprised of more than 49% Ex-officio institutional members.
    Member Representation: To become a candidate for an initial election to the Steering Committee, a member must provide a statement of interest and three letters of recommendation from relevant advocacy or community partners or other members of the Caucus. Reelection to the Steering Committee does not require the documents required for initial election.
    Election to the Steering Committee is for a three-year term. The Steering Committee will endeavor to stagger terms, so approximately 1/3 of the elected Steering Committee members are up for reelection in January of each year. The ex-officio institutional members must annually recertify their interest in Caucus participation.

    The Steering Committee shall, at its first meeting after the annual Steering Committee election, elect two Co-Chairs, a Secretary, and Treasurer (Emeritus Steering Committee members may not serve as officers). These elected officers shall comprise the Caucus Executive Committee. Officers may serve consecutive terms for as long as they are members of the Steering Committee.
    Emeritus Membership: Emeritus members of the Caucus Steering Committee can be nominated and elected by the Steering Committee. Members emeritus shall be selected from those Steering Committee members who have served in accordance with Steering Committee participation requirements and as an elected officer. Emeritus members shall serve three (3) year renewable terms for as long as they remain active in the work of the Caucus, and may end their term at any time.
    An emeritus member will receive all notices and information which are provided to the Steering Committee. Emeritus members may participate in all Steering Committee meetings and discussions, but do not count towards determination of a quorum and do not have voting rights on the Steering Committee.


    The membership of the Caucus participates in setting strategic priorities and agenda for the HIV Caucus, serves as advisors to the HIV Caucus Steering Committee and helps communicate the work of the Caucus to the broader community of PLHIV.
    The membership is comprised of Institutions (organizations, coalitions, networks or client groups of people living with HIV) and Independent Advocates who agree to become actively engaged in the day-to-day work of the HIV Caucus by serving on the Steering Committee or in one or more of the HIV Caucus work groups. All representatives of Institutions as well as Independent Advocate members must be individuals living with HIV.

    Caucus Leadership (updated August 2016):

    Chair: Andrew Spieldenner
    Vice Chair: Barb Cardell
    Treasurer: Laurel Sprague
    Secretary: Tami Haught
    Caucus Steering Committee (alphabetical by last name)
    Barb Cardell, Boulder, CO
    Marco Castro-Borjorquez, Los Angeles, CA

    Yolanda Diaz, New York, NY
    Tami Haught, Nashua, IA (ex-officio on behalf of SERO Project)
    Devin Hursey, Kansas City, MO
    Vanessa Johnson, Washington, DC
    Pat Kelly, Orangeburg, SC

    Arianna Lint, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (ex-officio on behalf of Positively Trans)
    Mark Misrok, New York, NY
    Teresia Otieno, Seattle, WA (ex-officio on behalf of International Community of Women-North America)

    Venita Ray, Houston, TX (ex-officio on behalf of Positive Women's Network - USA)

    Malcolm Reid, Atlanta, GA

    Waheedah Shabazz-El, Philadelphia, PA (ex-officio on behalf of The Reunion Project)
    Andrew Spieldenner, San Diego, CA
    Robert Suttle, New York, NY (ex-officio on behalf of Global Network of People with AIDS - North America)
    Larry Walker, Atlanta, GA (ex-officio on behalf of THRIVE SS)


    The HIV Caucus believes in and is predicated upon the principles of self-empowerment and self-determination, as embodied in the Denver Principles and GIPA/MIPA principles (Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS and Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS).
    The Caucus seeks to create a culture of engagement, expecting that members participate in the committees they sign up for, hold each other responsible for being properly prepared and participating in meetings and calls and work together in a collaborative and respectful fashion.

    How to join the HIV Caucus

    HIV Caucus membership is reserved for people living with HIV (PLHIV).


    Organizations, coalitions, networks and client groups that represent a minimum of ten individuals, who self-identified as openly living with HIV, are eligible to join the HIV Caucus if they satisfy all of the following criteria:

    1. Established by-laws or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) indicating they are legally independent or operationally autonomous with governance independent of any other body;
    2. Said by-laws or MOU requires that a majority (>50%) of the board of directors, steering committee or governing body be people living with HIV;
    3. Institutions need not be formally incorporated as a not-for-profit legal entity, but for-profit legal entities are not eligible for participation as members.
    4. Chairperson, chief executive or other presiding officer is a person openly living with HIV;
    5. Advocacy by PLHIV for PLHIV is defined as a primary mission of the institution (an organization, coalition, network or client group);
    6. They have a demonstrable track record of at least one year involvement in advocacy for PLHIV by PLHIV; and
    7. Institutions participating as members shall designate an individual openly living with HIV to represent them; said individual will serve at the pleasure of the institutional member.

    Independent Advocates

    People openly living with HIV who advocate for persons living with HIV and demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively with networks of people with HIV and other individual advocates and activists may become members of the Caucus if they meet the following criteria:

    1. They have a demonstrated involvement in advocacy for PLHIV by PLHIV;
    2. They send a letter to the HIV Caucus Membership Committee nominating themselves to join and committing to actively participate;
    3. The Membership Committee accepts their application.

    Individuals living with HIV are also encouraged to support the HIV Caucus through membership in local, statewide, national or interest- or population-based networks of people living with HIV; we encourage these networks to become members of the HIV Caucus.

    Participation on Steering Committee

    Steering Committee members are obligated to regularly and actively participate on conference calls, face-to-face meetings and work groups. Participation requirements are determined by the Steering Committee. At present, the Steering Committee meets on a monthly basis and Committees meet at a minimum of six times a year or more depending on the Committee’s responsibilities and work load. The Steering Committee and Committees meeting schedules will be communicated to the membership and posted electronically and online.
    Steering Committee membership is not an agreement to “lend one’s name” but a promise to actively work with Caucus members and a commitment to advocate on behalf of people with HIV in the U.S.
    Leave of Absence: The Caucus Chairperson may, at their discretion, grant a leave of absence, for a requested and specified period of time, to Steering Committee members from their responsibilities; said leaves of absence must be noted in the minutes of the Steering or Executive Committee meeting following the granting of the leave.
    Obligation to Participate: If an Ex-officio member of the Steering Committee stops participating or without prior notice fails to participate in two calls or meetings, then the Caucus Chair is obligated to notify the Ex-officio Institutional member organization and request they consider the appointment of a representative able to more fully participate. Said notification will be noted in the minutes at the next Steering or Executive Committee meeting.
    If a non-Ex-officio member of the Steering Committee stops participating or without prior notice fails to participate in two consecutive calls or meetings, the Caucus Chairperson is obligated to contact the Steering Committee member and inquire concerning their continued interest in the Caucus. Said contact will be noted in the minutes of the next Steering or Executive Committee meeting.
    If any Steering Committee member (Ex-officio, Institutional or Individual) misses three consecutive calls or meetings, for any reason, with or without notice, then the Caucus Chair will send an email explicitly suggesting they consider stepping down to make room for someone able to more fully participate. Said contact will be noted in the minutes at the next Steering or Executive Committee meeting and the Steering Committee may take action to remove the member.
    It is the personal responsibility of Caucus members to bring to the attention of the Executive Committee circumstances where Steering Committee members are not meeting the principle of participation or not working in a collaborative or respectful fashion. If the Caucus member doesn’t feel the Executive Committee is handling the situation to the member’s satisfaction, the member may take the issue to the full Steering Committee to be addressed formally.


    Steering Committee members may petition the Chair to have an elected or appointed Steering Committee member removed for cause and a new appointment made to complete the removed members unexpired term. Members may be removed for:

    1. Missing three consecutive meetings or calls without notification shall be considered cause for removal.
    2. Conduct deemed detrimental, i.e. member is obstructive, to the progress, well-being or reputation of the Steering Committee, US PLHIV Caucus and/or the PLHIV community shall be considered cause for removal.

    Such member may be removed from office at a Steering Committee meeting where the complaining member or members shall be given the opportunity to present their case to the Steering Committee. Thereafter, the Steering Committee may by a 2/3rds vote of members present for a meeting recommend that the person resign or, if they decline to resign, be removed by the Chair. There is no right of appeal against a member's removal from the Steering Committee.
    Conflict of Interest: The Steering Committee will maintain on record a Conflict of Interest Statement. All Steering Committee members are required to annually acknowledge receipt and agreement with the Conflict of Interest Statement. Any Steering Committee member may bring to the attention of any officer of the Steering Committee any concern about potential conflicts of any Steering Committee member. The officer is obligated to bring the concern to the attention of the Executive Committee.


    There are four (4) Caucus committees: Governance, Policy, Communications, and Membership. All Steering Committee members are required to actively participate on one or more of the committees. Members who are not on the Steering Committee may join the Policy, Communications, and Membership committees; if interested they should contact the committee chair. Only Steering Committee members are eligible to serve on the Governance committee or to serve as chair or co-chairs of the Policy, Communications and Membership committees.

    Steering Committee Vacancies

    If a vacancy on the Steering Committee arises because of the death, resignation or removal of a non ex-officio Steering Committee member, the Steering Committee may choose to appoint a Caucus member to serve out the remaining vacant term on the Steering Committee.
    The membership shall be notified about the vacancy by email at least seven days prior to such appointment, in order for any member interested in the position to request they be considered.

    Steering Committee Decision-Making:​

    Organizational chart: PLHIV community (including allies) -> Caucus Membership -> Caucus Steering Committee -> Caucus Leadership Team (Steering Committee officers, Emeritus Steering Committee members, committee chairs and ad hoc working group chairs) -> Caucus Executive Committee (officers).
    Methods: Consensus decision-making is the preferred mode of decision-making. However, voting will be conducted when necessary. When voting is enacted, a majority of members present (or by proxy), as determined by quorum, is required for a decision or motion to stand.
    Quorum: The minimum number of Steering Committee members constituting a quorum shall be at least 50% of the Steering Committee membership eligible to vote plus one.
    Leadership Team: The Leadership Team of the HIV Caucus shall consist of the Steering Committee officers, Emeritus Steering Committee members, committee chairs and ad hoc working group chairs. The Caucus Leadership Team will be responsible carrying out the actions taken by the Steering Committee and actively guiding the implementation of Caucus-related activities.
    Fiduciary Responsibility: As the HIV Caucus is a network of Institutions and Independent Advocates, the Steering Committee may from time to time request or appoint one its ex-offico institutions to serve as its fiduciary sponsor or agent. This ex-Offico institution will work with the Caucus Treasurer to ensure appropriate financial documents (i.e. budgets and reports) are submitted to the Caucus’s Executive Committee for review who in turn will present these documents to the Steering Committee for review.