In 1993, Beatrice Were co-founded the non-governmental organization NACWOLA to unite Ugandan women living with HIV and to improve the quality of their lives. She has served as national coordinator of NACWOLA, and as the Executive Coordinator of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, Uganda. She is currently National Coordinator for HIV/AIDS for ActionAid Uganda.
One of Africa's highest profile AIDS activists, Beatrice Were has become known for her strongly worded criticism of U.S. global AIDS policy. She accuses the American government of distorting HIV prevention programs in Africa in favor of an ineffective abstinence-only approach, and thus increasing stigma and endangering lives. Her speech at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, in which she attacked the "ABC" approach to HIV prevention, won her a standing ovation.