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Dafina Ward, J.D. (she/her) is an attorney and non-profit strategist with nearly fifteen years of experience addressing HIV and health equity issues in the southern United States. Dafina currently serves as Executive Director of the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC), an organization of regional focus and national reach, with a mission to end the HIV epidemic in the South. Through a range of programs and initiatives across the sixteen southern states and Washington, DC, SAC utilizes community-centered convenings, policy advocacy, grantmaking, leadership development, and capacity building trainings to support transformation in the region. In 2019, SAC created Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day [SHAAD] to amplify the HIV crisis in the region, which has become a nationally recognized day adopted by federal partners and hundreds of organizations.

In 2023, Dafina was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV AIDS. She currently serves as Chair of the 2024 US Conference on HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee, has been recognized as a Gilead Sciences Champion of Change, POZ Magazine Hero (July/August 2021), and as a member of the 2021 POZ 100 most influential Black HIV advocates in the nation. She received a 2024 GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Variety or Talk Show” for a special World AIDS Day segment of the Jennifer Hudson Show that centered HIV and stigma in the South.

Dafina shares her reflections on the intersections of race, gender, and health through public speaking and publications, with work appearing in the Washington Post, Role Re boot, and The Body. Dafina received her BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA) and her Juris Doctor from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA). She currently resides with her family in coastal South Carolina.

Smiling Black woman in her 30s or 40s, with red lipstick, braids and wearing a pretty chunky gold chain necklace and a black and white patterned dress
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