Dr. Laurel Sprague is an HIV and human rights activist, currently serving at UNAIDS as Chief, Community Mobilization. She came to UNAIDS from the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) where she served as Executive Director. Previously, she worked with the HIV Justice Network and the Sero Project, both organizations focused on ending criminalization of people living with HIV where she led their social science research activities and monitoring and evaluation efforts.
Laurel has been engaged in social justice efforts on behalf of the rights of people living with HIV as a support group member, client, board member, activist, trainer, educator, and researcher since shortly after her own diagnosis in 1991. She has worked in the HIV field for more than two decades and specializes in the intersections of health, human rights, gender, and political environments. Since 2009, Laurel has worked with networks of people living with HIV and other key population networks to support the People Living with HIV Stigma Index and other community-led, participatory research and evaluation projects in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. Her research and advocacy passion is for the political representation, self-empowerment, and dignity of people and communities who face discrimination and rights violations.
Dr. Sprague represented North American civil society organizations as an NGO Delegate to the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board from 2014-2016. From 2007 to 2015, she taught political and feminist theory and political science at Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan) and Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, Michigan). In 2001, she received a master of science degree in Conflict Resolution; she received her doctorate in Political Theory in 2015 with a dissertation focused on inclusive representation of marginalized groups in global institutions.