Human Rights Campaign Foundation Launches Ground-breaking National Comprehensive HBCU Health Center Directory

by Alberto Morales

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation launched a first-of-its-kind Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Health Center Directory. Created in partnership with the Black AIDS Institute and the Legacy Project, and supported by Gilead Sciences, this comprehensive guide identifies gaps in service delivery, catalogues existing services and assists with facilitation/linkage to HIV prevention and treatment services for Black college-age students at HBCUs. This effort is one part of a greater partnership between the HRC Foundation’s HIV & Health Equity program and Gilead dedicated to ending the HIV epidemic and improving health outcomes through strategic partnerships with HBCUs and minority-led and serving community-based organizations.

Marginalized populations, including LGBTQ people, face both societal and economic barriers that prevent them from accessing healthcare, and communities of color have been hit the hardest—1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual cisgender men and 1 in 4 Latinx gay and bisexual cisgender men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. According to a recent CDC study in seven United States cities, 42 percent of transgender women interviewed had HIV, with 62 percent of Black transgender women and 35 percent of Latinx transgender women already living with HIV. Further, more than 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses are young people between 13-24 years old.

Black gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic. This directory is a vital support system that will help empower HBCUs to lead the fight to prevent the spread of HIV by removing barriers to effective interventions for addressing the HIV epidemic. Given the size of the epidemic where 1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual cisgender men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, the Human Rights Campaign is proud to add this new directory to the list of strategies that we have developed in order to defeat this longstanding threat to Black LGBTQ health and futures.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign, President

In February 2021, Gilead and HRC announced that Gilead is providing a $3.2 million grant over two years to support communities disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic in the United States, particularly communities of color. Gilead will directly fund the efforts of the HRC Foundation – HRC’s educational arm – aimed at ending the HIV epidemic, as well as fund the organization’s 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 disadvantaged LGBTQ+ people of color. Through this initiative, HRC launched 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.

HIV/AIDS continues to be a major public health crisis both in the U.S. and around the world. While there have been significant strides and biomedical advancements in HIV prevention, treatment, and care, there is still urgent work to be done for those who are historically marginalized—approximately 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. After 40 years since the CDC first published about HIV/AIDS, there remains no vaccine or cure, and tens of thousands of people continue to contract HIV/AIDS every year. Insufficient funding for public health programs, ideological opposition to common sense prevention policies, and societal barriers have made it especially difficult to turn the tide against the epidemic.

About the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 600,000 clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ community.

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