A Ripple Award recipient in 2017, Elena Felix remains to be a picture of a woman of strength, resilience, and triumph. While others see their own HIV status as a reason to slow down, she has taken hers as a catalyst to bring out positive change and become instrumental in taking the HIV advocacy to another level. What started as a personal drive to overcome hurdles grew into a strong desire to help and inspire the community around her.
This Is Me
Elena was diagnosed with HIV in 1994, a time when the country is slowly beginning to understand what the virus is. Beyond the impact her status has made to herself, Elena saw her fellow women living with HIV and realized there is strength in facing this head on as a community.
When the organization Babae Plus (formerly known as Positive Women Living with HIV) officially closed its doors, Elena grabbed the opportunity to open another one, maintaining the kind of undying strength and reliable assistance a community support group can provide. The Associate of Positive Women Advocates Inc. (APWAI) was formed, and Elena carried on the practice of caring for newly-diagnosed women and children, advocating through education about HIV, and mentoring women leaders as front-liners.
In the advent of social media, Elena stood front and center and became one of the prominent faces of PLHIV. She has made appearances on television talk shows, guested on radio interviews and podcasts, and took part on several multi-platform projects aimed at raising HIV awareness and promoting testing and treatment.
This Is Us
Elena Felix and APWAI shows no signs of stopping. The year 2017 started with APWAI gaining its SEC registration in March, allowing it to accomplish more projects and reach out to more communities in the provinces. Elena, of course, ended the year with a Ripple Award as recognition for her passion and dedication to the advocacy.
To date, Elena has remains hands-on in promoting engagement of women leaders in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of the of the implementation of health programs and psychosocial services specific to PLHIV. On its part, APWAI continues its community work, aligned by its vision to empower members, develop resources, and establish livelihood.
Maximizing her contributions to the PLHIV community even further, Elena is currently actively involved in reviewing and amending the AIDS Bill in collaboration with the Network to Stop AIDS Philippines.
Elena is an inspiring example of how one can powerfully live through HIV, and radiate positive impact by reaching out to the community. Individuals and organizations following her footsteps in the advocacy may be recognized in this year's Ripple Awards. This year, she joins the panel of judges to award a new wave of awardees