The People With AIDS (PWA) Self-Empowerment Movement is a social movement by those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS which grew out of San Francisco in the early 1980s. The PWA Self-Empowerment Movement believes that those diagnosed as having AIDS should "take charge of their own life, illness, and care, and to minimize dependence on others". The attitude that exists throughout the movement is that one should not assume that their life is over and will end soon solely because they have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Although most of the earliest organizers have died, and organizations dissolved or reconfigured into AIDS service organizations (ASOs) the self-empowerment and self-determination aspects of the movement continue. Possibly the best known example of a continuing PWA group is AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT-UP), which has chapters around the world and has had great success bringing attention to and change regarding issues concerning PWAs.
PWA is also used simply to mean "person with HIV/AIDS", regardless of whether that person is associated with the PWA Self-Empowerment Movement. [from wikipedia]
The People with AIDS Coalition (PWAC) was founded in New York City in 1985 by a group of nine people who had contracted AIDS. The founders were inspired by the Denver Principles, a manifesto adopted in 1983 by PWAs at the National Lesbian and Gay Health Conference held in Denver. The Denver Principles proclaimed the need for self-empowerment and self-reliance by PWAs as well as the necessity of their taking an active role in the formulation of decisions affecting their lives. During thealmost eight years of its corporate existence PWAC became the largest self-help organization of people living with AIDS/HIV in America. Projects developed by PWAC include the Community Research Initiative (CRI), a network of medical doctors and patients who undertook their own drug studies; the People With AIDS Health Group, a not-for-profit buyer's club set up to provide easier access to drugs and other therapeutic substances difficult to obtain; a national telephone hotline; and a newsletter.