LGBTQ people have long faced violence in many parts of the world, which often prevents them from seeking or receiving HIV-related services. To help combat this problem, the U.S. State Department’s Global AIDS Coordinator recently announced the creation of a $100 million “Key Populations Investment Fund” over the next five years to combat stigma and violence against LGBTQ people and other groups. The Global AIDS Coordinator’s Office is now welcoming applications for funding through October 21.
“We will only end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 if no one is left behind,” said U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., who oversees the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is the U.S. Government’s chief initiative to help save the lives of those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS around the world. “It is unacceptable that key populations still face stigma, discrimination, and violence, which impede their ability to access quality HIV services. PEPFAR stands firmly and unequivocally with and for key populations.”
Key populations in this context are those communities who are most impacted by the HIV epidemic and whose treatment is neglected far too often. This list includes LGBTQ people, sex workers, people who inject drugs and people in prisons. LGBTQ people in particular face stigma, violence and discrimination in many parts of the world and often avoid HIV clinics out of fear for their own safety.
Funding from this new initiative will go to community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve those key populations in 38 countries. The money has specifically been set aside to help international CBOs identify and knock down barriers that prevent people from accessing HIV-related services. Funding can also be used to promote the human rights and social justice of all people regardless of their HIV status.
“It is critically important for PEPFAR to be prioritizing the human rights of LGBTQ people in this way,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC’s Global Program. “Particularly at a time when we see certain countries trying to keep LGBTQ people and other key populations out of the conversation around HIV, we applaud the U.S. government’s efforts to put key populations front and center where they belong.”
Funding will be spread out over the next five years and will be distributed among at least 10 “prime” recipients, with awards ranging from $500,000 to $10 million.
For more information about the fund, click here.