amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Ending the AIDS Epidemic

amfAR Ending the AIDS Epidemic

“I will not be silenced and I will not give up and I will not be ignored.”

Elizabeth TaylorWith these words, Elizabeth Taylor lent her voice to the voiceless and her iconic image to those who had been rendered invisible: people with HIV/AIDS. In 1985 Elizabeth Taylor's California-based AIDS organization joined forces with Dr. Mathilde Krim’s AIDS Medical Foundation to form amfAR. Dr. Krim remains amfAR’s revered Founding Chairman. Dame Elizabeth, its Founding International Chairman, passed away in March 2011 but her spirit lives on in amfAR’s continuing quest to bring an end to AIDS.


Isn't the AIDS crisis over?

No, far from it. AIDS remains the gravest public health crisis of our time. It has already killed 39 million people, and 35 million more are living with the virus, including more than a million Americans. In the U.S., 50,000 people become infected with HIV each year—one every 10 minutes.


HIV/AIDS Baby Photo: Kevin Tachman


Around the world, millions remain without access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs, and for every person who does receive treatment, two to three more become infected. The cost of treatment and care places a huge, long-term burden on healthcare budgets around the world, and we urgently need to find lasting, cost-effective solutions to the epidemic.


A History of Accomplishment

medical scene - Photo: Kevin Tachman


By investing in cutting-edge science and responding quickly to emerging opportunities, amfAR has been accelerating the pace of AIDS research for more than 25 years. amfAR prides itself on being a research venture capitalist by investing in new research ideas that are often deemed too novel or risky for government funders.

Our research investments—made principally through grants and fellowships awarded to leading researchers worldwide— have led to major advances in HIV treatment and prevention. For example:

  • amfAR supported the early studies that were critical to the development of protease inhibitors, the powerful drugs that revolutionized the treatment of HIV/AIDS and contributed to a drastic reduction in AIDS-related deaths.

  • In fact, amfAR-funded research has contributed to the development of four of the six main drug classes that are helping people with HIV/ AIDS live longer, healthier lives.

  • amfAR pioneered the research that led to treatments that prevent mothers from passing HIV onto their newborn children. As a result, mother-to-child transmission has been virtually eliminated in many parts of the world.


An Effective Advocate

United States CapitalOne of the earliest and most respected advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS, amfAR galvanized national leadership on AIDS and was instrumental in securing the passage of key legislation that has formed the bedrock of the U.S. response to AIDS for more than two decades.

The Foundation also played an important part in developing the National AIDS Strategy launched by President Obama in 2010. The strategy sets goals for reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, and reducing health-related disparities in the domestic epidemic.

amfAR continues to work worldwide to oppose the stigma and discrimination that surround HIV infection, and to confront the prejudice against minority populations that makes them especially vulnerable to the virus.


Global Solutions to a Global Epidemic

Kids playingSince awarding its first international grant in 1986, amfAR has supported HIV research, prevention, education, and advocacy efforts in regions of world that have been particularly hard hit by AIDS.

amfAR’s TREAT Asia program is a network of clinics, hospitals, and research institutions working with civil society to ensure the safe and effective delivery of HIV/AIDS treatments throughout Asia and the Pacific. TREAT Asia’s pediatric network is helping to improve treatment and care for the roughly 200,000 children living with HIV in the region. TREAT Asia is widely regarded as a model of regional collaboration on HIV/AIDS.

Gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are at least 19 times more likely—and transgender women, 49 times more likely—to be infected with HIV than the general population. Launched in 2007, amfAR’s GMT Initiative provides financial and technical support to community organizations working to reduce the spread and impact of HIV among gay men, other MSM, and transgender individuals (collectively, GMT) in low- and middle-income countries. Through the GMT Initiative, amfAR has made community awards in support of nearly 200 frontline organizations serving GMT in over 80 countries.


Leading the Search for a Cure

The fact is that we will not end the AIDS epidemic without a vaccine and a cure. In spite of a monumental research effort, an effective vaccine remains a long way off. For the past decade, amfAR’s investments have been focused squarely on a cure.

We’ve brought collaborative teams of researchers together to explore ways to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of eradicating HIV. With financial support and leadership from the Foundation, the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE) is on the leading edge of the search for a cure.

Finding a cure will take time and money, but we believe it’s the most cost-effective way to fight, and conquer, HIV/AIDS. It’s a goal that, when we achieve it, will brighten the future for global health and humankind.


How You Can Help

If you’d like to help, the single most effective action you can take is to make a donation to amfAR. We’ll put your gift to work right away! Further intensive research offers our only hope of ending the AIDS epidemic.

Click here to make a secure online donation.

Download the PDF brochure here.