amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Announces Funding for Essential HIV Services in the Caribbean

Projects will support six groups working with men who have sex with men in four countries as part of the amfAR MSM Initiative 

 

Contact:  Cub Barrett, Manager, Program Communications, (212) 806-1602, cub.barrett@amfar.org 

For Immediate Release

NEW YORK, May 18, 2009—Efforts to bolster HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Caribbean received a significant boost today as amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, announced a new round of community awards being funded through its MSM Initiative.

“Men who have sex with men in the Caribbean are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to HIV prevention and treatment services because of the pervasive stigma that exists in most countries,” said Kent Klindera, program manager of amfAR’s MSM Initiative. “We hope to empower these communities by funding innovative work that will support change.”

The funded projects will address prevention and treatment issues among the diverse MSM communities in the Caribbean, and include programs geared toward transgender populations and deaf MSM. One project will explore legal ways to repeal colonial-era sodomy laws that are still on the books in some countries. 

amfAR launched its MSM Initiative in 2007 to support and empower grassroots MSM organizations in their efforts to expand HIV prevention, treatment, and care services, build understanding and awareness of HIV epidemics among MSM, and advocate effective HIV-related policies and increased funding. The Initiative is designed to target countries and regions around the world where MSM are often overlooked as a risk group for HIV transmission.

The Caribbean, with an HIV prevalence rate of 1.1%, is the second-most affected region in the world, after sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNAIDS, as many as one in eight—12%—of reported HIV infections in the region occurred through unprotected sex between men.

Six awards totaling $150,000 will go to groups in four countries: the Dominican Republic (two awards), Guyana, Haiti, and Jamaica (two awards). Funding for the awards was provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. They follow an initial round of seven awards to Caribbean groups that were announced in March 2008.

“All too often, MSM are an invisible group that bears the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “The work being supported by the MSM Initiative is groundbreaking, culturally sensitive, and essential to curbing the spread of AIDS around the world.”

For a complete list of the projects being funded, please click here.

About amfAR
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 nearly $275 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.


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amfAR  -  MSM Initiative Community Awards
Project Summaries – Caribbean (Cycle 2)

 

Proyecto “Tal Cual” (Project “As I Am”)
Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, $15,000
COIN, through its Jovenes de la Vida Real (Youth in the Real World) program, will use award funds to bridge the gap between appropriate and culturally sensitive HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and the extent of the impact of the epidemic upon the transgender community in Santo Domingo. Funded activities will include peer support for transgender health clinic clients, informing clinic staff about general and HIV/AIDS-specific medical needs of transgender people, mobile clinic STD and HIV testing, and the development of prevention education materials that address the wide range of concerns experienced by the transgender population.

Challenging Policy and Legislative Blockages in Support of Universal Access
Name withheld by request, Jamaica, $40,000
Recognizing that the marginalization resulting from the criminalization of same-sex behavior creates substantial barriers to accessing HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support, this organization and its collaborators will use award funds to explore legal frameworks to help promote HIV/AIDS programming for MSM in the Caribbean.

Providing Access to Medical and Psychological Services to Empower Hearing and Deaf MSMs in Jamaica
Name withheld by request, Kingston, Jamaica, $40,000
This organization, working in partnership with another local group, will utilize the award to sustain direct HIV/AIDS services specific for MSM communities in Jamaica, including prevention interventions, medical services (psychological and clinical), and crisis intervention. The funding will be used to continue outreach activities, conduct trainings of service providers, and cover operational costs associated with a MSM-specific health clinic. Special emphasis will be made to be inclusive the needs of the deaf MSM community.

Outreach to MSM affected by HIV and AIDS in Haiti
SEROvie, Port au Prince, Haiti, $40,000
(in collaboration with Action Civique Contre le VIH and PANOS)
SEROvie, in partnership with Action Civique Contre le VIH (ACCV) and PANOS, will utilize the award to expand HIV/AIDS outreach to MSM communities in the northern Peninsula of Haiti. Program components include providing medical and psycho-social support through home visits, building enabling environments through the development of a specific HIV services referral network for MSM, and engaging journalists to increase their ability to portray of the struggle of MSM accurately. 

Este Amor/CEyC HIV Prevention Project for MSM in Region V (Dominican Republic)
Clínica Esperanza y Caridad (CEyC), San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic, $7,500
(in collaboration with Este Amor)
CEyC, in partnership with Este Amor, will use award funds to engage MSM in multiple cities in the Dominican Republic through community health promoters who will distribute condoms, share educational materials regarding HIV/AIDS and other STDs, and provide information about HIV testing. Additionally, they will create self-help groups for HIV-infected MSM and will provide transportation support to HIV-infected MSM who have appointments at the clinic. 

Building a Guyanese Society Free from Sexual Orientation Discrimination 
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination-Guyana (SASOD), Georgetown, Guyana, $7,500
SASOD will create a physical anti-discrimination desk to receive and document complaints by MSM in Guyana via the phone or in person, refer clients to support services, and follow up with authorities where appropriate. The award funds will also be used to strengthen support programs addressing MSM and HIV/AIDS.