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This is How ViiV Healthcare is Improving HIV Care for MSM and Transgender People

Globally, MSM and transgender individuals are among those at highest risk of HIV infection.

ViiV Healthcare today announced the launch of a new initiative designed to support and inform the global effort to alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender populations around the world.

Through Positive Action, ViiV Healthcare has committed to invest £2 million per year to encourage MSM and transgender community-led interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and/or HIV status.  The first phase of the new program will cover a period of two years.

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With the ultimate goal of enabling MSM and transgender individuals around the world to safely seek culturally competent HIV care and services, the program will support these communities as they develop their capacity to lead, participate in policy-making and address the severe health disparities and health service access issues affecting MSM and transgender individuals.

“The Positive Action MSM and Transgender Programme aims to address persistent and pervasive challenges that have a profound impact on the lives of MSM and transgender individuals worldwide,” said Juan Jacobo Hernández Chávez, Executive Director of Colectivo Sol and Advisory Board Chair for the Positive Action MSM and Transgender Programme. “By focusing on and empowering MSM and transgender communities, the initiative represents a critical step in the global effort to halt and reverse the HIV epidemic among key populations.” 

The initiative is designed to direct resources to where needs are the greatest. MSM and transgender populations are often stigmatized and isolated; they have been understudied, under-resourced and inadequately supported: 

  • Globally, MSM and transgender individuals are among those at highest risk of HIV infection.[i] These groups are an often under-appreciated population of the global epidemic and facing decreasing and/or limited funding from local or international donors.
  • Prevalence rates among MSM and transgender populations are consistently higher than for men of reproductive age in the general population.[ii]
  • The World Bank estimates that fewer than one in ten MSM and transgender individual worldwide have access to the most basic package of preventive interventions.[ii]
  • Scant data on transgender individuals reveals transgender women are 48.8 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population. [iii]
  • Globally, young people comprise over 40 percent of new HIV infections and many of them are MSM and transgender individuals.[iv]

“Without a dedicated focus on the needs of MSM and transgender communities, who still endure significant stigma, discrimination and health disparities, we cannot achieve the worldwide goal of reducing HIV transmission,” said Michael N. Joyner, Director of Positive Action and Patient Advocacy at ViiV Healthcare. “This programme seeks to promote interventions that will confront these challenges head on and empower MSM and transgender communities. It is an effort that is consistent with the values our Positive Action Programme has promoted for more than two decades.”

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Since 1992, the Positive Action Programme has been working with community-based organisations around the globe to tackle the stigma and discrimination faced by vulnerable populations affected by or infected with the HIV virus. With the new Positive Action MSM and Transgender Programme, ViiV Healthcare is again expanding its investment in those individuals at highest risk and most vulnerable to HIV infection.

The Programme will take several approaches to support MSM and transgender populations, in addition to formally launching the publication of the first Call for Proposals. This initial programme is for a series of small grant applications – covering a two-year period – with funding amounts up to £25,000/year. The Programme Advisory Board, comprised of leaders from the global MSM and Transgender sector and HIV community, will meet to consider project funding under the agreed programme areas and funding priorities.

For information about how to submit a proposal and to learn more about the Positive Action MSM and Transgender Programme, visit www.viivhealthcare.com.

[i] Beyrer et al. Global epidemiology of HIV infection in men who have sex with men. Figure 1. Lancet. 2012 July 28; 380(9839): 367–377

[ii] The World Bank Report, The Global HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men, 2011

[iii] Baral SD, et al. Worldwide burden of HIV in transgender women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013:13:214-22

[iv]World Health Organisation and UNAIDS. Technical Guidance Note for Global Fund HIV Proposals:  Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support for Young People, May 2010http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/toolkits/YoungPeople_Techical_Guidance_GlobalFundR10_May2010.pdf. Accessed 5 March 2015.

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