For Immediate Release
Joana Casas, Manager, Program Communications
NEW YORK, March 20, 2013—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Wednesday announced a new round of grants aimed at reducing the spread and impact of HIV among gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals—collectively known as “GMT”—in Latin America. The Foundation in 2012 renamed its MSM Initiative to reflect the diversity of populations being served by the program.
With financial support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the nine awards, which range from $14,400 to $20,000 each, will go to community-led groups working with GMT across the region.
See the full list of the GMT Initiative’s sixth round of Latin America community awards.
“Since we renamed our MSM Initiative last year to become the GMT Initiative, we’ve helped change the global health conversation about the need to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic among transgender individuals in addition to gay men and other MSM,” said GMT Initiative Director Kent Klindera. “Each of these newly funded Latin America projects somehow incorporates work with transgender populations, and we hope our continued efforts will encourage other donors to recognize the importance of working with GMT to curb the epidemic.”
Since July 2007, the GMT Initiative has made 192 Community Awards totaling more than US$3.4 million to support 144 frontline organizations serving GMT individuals in 72 countries.
A primary goal of the GMT Initiative is to strengthen the evaluation process for projects funded through the program. One project that exemplifies this new emphasis on evaluation will go to ASPI-DH, a group in El Salvador that will build on an earlier GMT Initiative award to train health care workers in public health centers about the needs of GMT. Part of the award will pay for evaluators to pose as health center clients to evaluate the quality of care given by the medical providers.
Another goal of the GMT Initiative is to increase the role of advocacy and systems change in funded projects. In its second year of funding, MUMS, a group in Chile, will engage key decision-makers in government, elected officials, and the general public in order to challenge homophobic structures and increase investment in GMT-specific HIV programming. Activists involved in the project will represent three regions with high HIV prevalence rates and will be trained to administer effective advocacy strategies. MUMS, a two-time amfAR grantee, will also launch an anti-homophobia campaign through radio, TV, and print media.
“As the GMT Initiative continues to evolve, we’re focusing on strategies that will better serve GMT in the long run, including systems change and evaluation processes that ensure our awards have lasting impact on local populations,” Klindera said. “We know we’re only going to change the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among GMT if the larger population understands the link between HIV/AIDS and homophobia, so it’s important that the projects we fund have concrete goals and operate in a larger context.”
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.