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Justice & Advocacy

SAN has been part of the Washington HIV Justice Alliance (WHJA) since inception.  

SAN is proud to be hosting the virtual meetings twice per month.

Tribute to Lauren Fanning

Lauren Fanning was a community advocate living in Washington State, and a member of the Washington HIV/AIDS Community Action Network (WHACAN) and most recently a founding member of the WHJA (Washington HIV Justice Alliance). Her career of nearly 40 years included providing end-of-life support and education; serving as an HIV test counselor, mental health counselor, and educator; and providing mental health support, case management, and education to prison inmates and staff. She also has worked as a medical and prevention case manager, and worked with people living with HIV transitioning back to the community from prison in Washington State. Throughout the last 22 years, she has remained involved in local and statewide planning for HIV care and prevention services.

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Most notably, Lauren worked tirelessly to change the laws criminalizing HIV in our state and I am proud to have worked with her in the fight that took nearly 8 years to accomplish.

When asked in a 2014 article HIV Law & Policy about what motivated her to get involved in the struggle to bring justice in HIV criminalization in Washington State Lauren responded:

I worked with people with HIV for thirty-two years. From the very beginning they’ve experienced horrible consequences in their lives: the stigma and discrimination. Many of those people were my friends and loved ones. So it probably goes back to that, but I also worked for fourteen years in corrections and worked with many folks who were convicted for HIV-related crimes and saw how much it impacted their lives.

Also, in working as a case manager in the community and in prison, whether it’s an HIV-related crime or not, I have seen the extreme unequal justice in our system. Most of my clients are people who are marginalized and disenfranchised. And, particularly in the last fifteen years or so, I have watched the system deteriorate tremendously.

In 2020, the Washington State legislature passed the HIV Modernization bill thanks in large part to Lauren Fanning’s determination and ability to keep the efforts going for so many years.

Lauren passed away peacefully in the company of her family in mid-September 2021 and she will be greatly missed. She has joined so many other unsung heroes in the past 35+ years whose shoulders we now stand on.

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