amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Announces Innovative Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America

Through amfAR’s MSM Initiative, awards will support 17 groups that work with men who have sex with men in 14 countries 


For Immediate Release

Contact: Cub Barrett, Manager, Program Communications, (212) 806-1602, 

NEW YORK, December 16, 2009—Efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Latin America and the Asia–Pacific region received a substantial boost today as amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, announced its second round of community awards to grassroots organizations in the two regions.

In Asia and the Pacific, seven awards will go to groups operating in seven countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. In Latin America, ten awards will support organizations working in seven countries: Bolivia (2), Brazil (2), Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico (2), and Panama. Awards range from $7,300 to nearly $30,000, depending on the scope of the project.

The awards will support a wide range of prevention, education, research, and outreach activities aimed at gaining a clearer picture of the HIV epidemic among MSM in the regions, as well as expanding access to essential prevention, treatment, and care services.

“The MSM Initiative is one of the few programs working globally and dedicated specifically to supporting frontline groups working with MSM to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among MSM,” said Kent Klindera, program manager of amfAR’s MSM Initiative. “MSM worldwide have much higher rates of HIV infection than the general population. We’re excited that the projects in Latin America and Asia and the Pacific will use so many different tools, from research studies to social networking, to help us gain more knowledge about the epidemic among MSM populations and how best to control it.” 

In Asia and the Pacific—where about 4.7 million people were living with HIV in 2008, according to UNAIDS—funded projects include an MSM research study in Vietnam; legal education about human rights violations for 18 MSM/HIV grassroots organizations across China; and outreach to and network-building for MSM throughout Bangladesh.

Several of the projects being supported in Asia and the Pacific will involve the use of technology to communicate with MSM. For example, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Mplus+ will work to promote sexual health and access to quality HIV prevention using mobile phones and iPods to reach young MSM, male sex workers, and hidden MSM and their cohabitating male/female partners.  And in Pakistan, the Red Ribbon Initiative in Islamabad will use the Internet to disseminate HIV prevention information to hidden MSM populations and the underground party scene.

In Latin America—where about 2 million people were living with HIV in 2008, according to UNAIDS—award recipients include an organization in Colombia that will work on HIV prevention and treatment with MSM members of the indigenous Wayuu population; a group in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that will continue outreach activities promoting risk-reduction strategies among MSM; and an organization in La Paz, Bolivia, that will empower MSM to advocate for their own rights.

Additionally, one award will help an organization in Panama City, Panama, monitor different models for HIV treatment adherence among MSM. The results will be compiled and distributed to key stakeholders in the region to help them as they shape future HIV services for MSM.

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.

“We’re doing in these regions what the MSM Initiative was designed to do: support HIV prevention, treatment, and care services where they are most needed, and empower grassroots groups of MSM,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “I’m also proud that our partners in the Initiative are using so many different ways to reach different subpopulations of the MSM community based on their local networks.”

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 $290 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.