amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Launches MSM Initiative


New initiative to provide grants and support advocacy efforts in developing countries

June 26, 2007—As the HIV/AIDS pandemic enters its second quarter-century, HIV is spreading rapidly among men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly in resource-limited countries. After the terrible price paid by gay men in the 1980s and ‘90s, it seems unthinkable that such a scenario could be repeated today. Yet discrimination, denial, and criminalization of male-male sex are again fueling this major health crisis, just as they did at the dawn of the HIV/AIDS era.

But there is hope. Grassroots organizations are forming in parts of Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and other developing regions where the epidemic is reaching crisis proportions. With sufficient funding and support, these organizations can shift community attitudes, drive policy changes, and mobilize the necessary resources to reverse the alarming spread of HIV among MSM.

In an effort to help these organizations grow and become more effective, and to reduce rates of HIV infection and transmission among MSM in resource-limited countries, amfAR has launched a new MSM initiative.

The amfAR MSM Initiative will enable the Foundation to award small, targeted grants to grass-roots groups in support of innovative HIV/AIDS services for MSM in resource-limited countries. Grants will also be used to improve communication and increase collaboration among organizations. These grants will have an immediate and significant impact on poorer communities with few available resources for MSM. In addition, grants such as these can have a “multiplier effect” with the power to catalyze funding from additional donors.

Through the Initiative, amfAR will also support advocacy efforts aimed at increasing funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services for MSM from public and private sources and at ending the stigma, discrimination, and violence that threaten the lives of MSM and fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The amfAR MSM Initiative is supported by initial grants from the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, MAC AIDS Fund, GlaxoSmithKline's Positive Action programme, David C. Bohnett and Tom Gregory, Luigi Caiola and Sean McGill, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hon. James C. Hormel and Timothy Wu, Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., Steve Wozencraft, Global Health Strategies, Hall F.Willkie, and Henry F. Detering. The Initiative will be formally announced at the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Sydney, Australia, in July.