Silvia Petretti was born in Rome, Italy. She moved to London in 1987 and graduated in African Arts and Languages at SOAS. Silvia spent her younger years travelling around West Africa and promoting dance and music from Africa and the diaspora in Italy, also working as a writer for documentaries. Since 2019 Silvia has been Positively UK’s CEO, a national charity lead and run by people with HIV. She firstly joined Positively UK in 1999, when Positively UK was still known as Positively Women, as a volunteer in the organisation Community Development Team providing treatment information to women attending HIV clinics.
Soon she became a staff member leading on support for women with drug and alcohol issues and providing outreach in Holloway prison. Silvia is the co-author of the SHE+ toolkit (Strong HIV Positive and Empowered), which aimed at supporting women with HIV in Europe to deliver women centred peer support.
Silvia is a member of the WHO advisory board on Women and HIV and has worked as part of a team to develop a global toolkit for women with HIV to access their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Silvia believes that a key tool in defeating HIV stigma is for people with HIV to be heard, visible and involved in decisions that affect them. Silvia has been living with HIV 26 years.