Winter 2021 • Nick Morrow He/Him
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced a brand new, $3.2 million, two-year grant from Gilead Sciences Inc. to support communities around the country that have been disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic. The grant will directly fund the HRC Foundation’s innovative efforts and partnerships aimed at ending the HIV epidemic, as well as its Transgender Justice Initiative.
This innovative initiative builds on core strengths of each organization, including Gilead’s long-standing efforts to address healthcare disparities and HRC’s leadership in advancing justice for LGBTQ+ communities for more than 40 years. It also builds on HRC’s commitment to programmatic work that actively challenges systems, laws and policies that disproportionately disadvantage LGBTQ+ people of color.
Through this initiative, HRC will launch a public education campaign to change the narrative by focusing on dismantling stigma and discrimination while developing and advancing an inclusive public policy that addresses non-discrimination measures and healthcare disparities among LGBTQ+ communities.
“Too often, institutional racism and anti-LGBTQ bias have been barriers to comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “This grant will allow the Human Rights Campaign to work directly with community partners, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and youth-serving professionals – especially those in Black and Latinx communities in the South and around the country – to increase awareness of lifesaving treatments and prevention options in order to reduce health disparities, and combat the discrimination and stigma that too often leads to fatal violence against transgender women of color.”
Stigma, homophobia and transphobia, racism, and lack of access to appropriate healthcare services are barriers to comprehensive HIV prevention and care. This particularly impacts the 1 in 4 Latino gay and bisexual cisgender men and 1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual cisgender men who will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
The funding from Gilead will enable HRC to work directly with these communities in the Southern U.S. and around the country, with partners including Us Helping Us in Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland; Brotherhood Incorporated in New Orleans; TruEvolution in Riverside, California; Arianna’s Center in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico; Community Health PIER in Greenville, Mississippi; and BU Wellness Network in Indianapolis.
In addition, through this work, HRC Foundation will partner with minority-led and serving community-based organizations and more than 30 Historically Black Colleges and Universities to facilitate linkage to HIV prevention and treatment services. HRC will supplement HBCUs efforts in providing HIV prevention education and resources to students through public education campaigns and on-campus training. The funding will also support HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, which seeks to address the urgent needs of the transgender community, with specific attention to individuals deeply impacted by racism, sexism and transphobia.
HRC Foundation hosted a virtual summit on February 23 featuring advocates and community-based organization leaders to discuss the efforts to end the HIV & AIDS epidemic in the U.S. For more information on this work, please visit hrc.org.