For Immediate Release
Joana Casas, Manager, Program Communications
NEW YORK, June 6, 2013 – In an effort to address the HIV epidemic among at-risk populations in the Caribbean, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Thursday announced a new round of grants that will help prevent HIV infection and expand access to treatment and care among gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals – collectively known as “GMT.” The announcement was made in advance of National Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on June 8.
With financial support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the GMT Initiative’s community awards will help eight front-line organizations implement outreach, advocacy, prevention, and treatment efforts in the Caribbean, the most heavily affected region in the world after sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 230,000 people are currently living with HIV in the Caribbean, and HIV prevalence is highest among MSM.
Funded projects include helping organizations expand access to HIV testing and increase the availability of condoms and lubricant for GMT in Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda, as well as organizing workshops focused on job skills development for HIV-positive transgender women in the Dominican Republic. Awards range from $14,500 to $17,500.
Other awards will help organizations enhance their use of technology and social networking, which has become a critical point of contact for hard-to-reach GMT. For example, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG), one of three organizations receiving funding in Jamaica, will develop a smart phone application and improve its web site to provide GMT with better access to HIV testing sites and LGBT-friendly services. Another group will use social media and theater entertainment to promote HIV prevention as means to reach the at-risk population. Kouraj, a Haitian organization, will host trainings to educate GMT leaders about human rights and about how to conduct interviews with GMT to better understand and document the human rights abuses and violence they experience.
See the full list of the GMT Initiative’s sixth round of Caribbean community awards.
“HIV/AIDS is still a leading cause of death in the Caribbean, and stigma and discrimination persist,” said Kent Klindera, director of amfAR’s GMT Initiative. “We must scale up prevention and treatment efforts especially among GMT to reduce new HIV infections, and we hope that these community awards will influence change and spur real progress towards an AIDS-free generation.”
Another goal of the GMT Initiative is to support epidemiological research that underpins the need for increased investment in HIV and other health services for GMT. In the Dominican Republic, where GMT accounted for 33 percent of new HIV infections in 2010, Instituto Dominicano de Estudios Virologiccos (IDEV), a Santo Domingo-based organization, will study the prevalence of HPV among GMT. It will also promote HPV and HIV screenings and conduct community outreach to educate the public about anal health and HIV prevention.
Since 2007, amfAR’s GMT Initiative (formerly The MSM Initiative) has made 235 awards totaling more than US$4.2 million to support 164 frontline organizations serving gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals (collectively “GMT”) in 78 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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