For Immediate Release
Joana Casas, Manager, Program Communications
NEW YORK, April 18, 2013 – Responding to the unmet needs of gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals—collectively known as “GMT” — amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Thursday announced a new round of grants aimed at reducing the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS and improving health outcomes for GMT in Africa.
With financial support from AIDS Fonds Netherlands and the Ford Foundation-Southern Africa, the awards, which range from $18,500 to $20,000 each, will help 13 frontline organizations implement outreach and advocacy efforts in many of these countries where same-sex sexual practices are prohibited by law, and stigma and discrimination continue to impede effective HIV responses.
More than 23.5 million people in sub-Saharan and Northern Africa are living with HIV. Most of the organizations receiving community awards are located in East and Southern Africa, two regions deeply impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Three grantees are located in West Africa, and one in North Africa.
See the full list of the GMT Initiative’s sixth round of Africa community awards.
Funded projects range from implementing programs to promote antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and providing mental health support among male sex workers living with HIV in Kenya, to training GMT community leaders to work with local media to educate and raise awareness of GMT- and HIV-related stigma and discrimination in Swaziland.
“Through these community awards, the GMT Initiative recognizes the critical role that these local grassroots organizations play in the lives of gay men, MSM, and transgender individuals, and each program supported is vital to improving their health and well-being,” said Kent Klindera, director of amfAR’s GMT Initiative.
One goal of the GMT Initiative is to support efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination, and increase access to GMT-friendly healthcare and social services by educating and sensitizing health professionals, elected officials and others. For example, an award in South Africa — a country with more than 5.6 million people living with HIV — will enable a Pretoria-based organization, OUT Wellbeing, to become the first organization officially accredited in the country to train healthcare providers on “LGBT-specific health needs,” and allow them to obtain certified continuing medical education credits upon completion of the training. OUT will also work with the South African government to conduct advocacy efforts to underscore the training manual’s importance in HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
Another grantee, Stop AIDS in Liberia (SAIL), will organize a training program that will allow peer educators to carry out community outreach programs, including the promotion of HIV testing and ART adherence. In its third year of funding from amfAR, SAIL will also host a support group for GMT living with HIV, begin documenting LGBT-related human rights violations, and engage stakeholders in government and other partners to advocate for the rights of GMT.
Since 2007, amfAR’s GMT Initiative (formerly The MSM Initiative) has made 208 community awards totaling more than US$3.6 million to support 155 frontline organizations serving gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals (collectively “GMT”) in 76 countries.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $366 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide. For more information, please visit www.amfar.org.
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