July 24, 2018

Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR Reaffirm Commitments to HIV Support for Key Populations

Written by International AIDS Society

This press release originally appeared on AIDS 2018. Reposted with permission.

24 July 2018 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) – At the 2018 International AIDS Conference, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are reaffirming their commitment to and investment in reaching key populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, with lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment services.

As part of these broader commitments, today EJAF and PEPFAR jointly announced the initial results from the LGBT Fund, which launched its first grants at the 2016 International AIDS Conference. The $10 million fund, created to address human rights violations, stigma, discrimination and violence faced by LGBT people and strengthen local organizations, has since reached nearly 60,000 LGBT people in several sub‐Saharan African countries and the Caribbean through targeted, community‐level projects.

Sir Elton John commented: “Since I founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation a quarter of a century ago, an article of faith for us is that no one gets left behind. Our LGBT Fund in partnership with PEPFAR is part of that spirit. The LGBT community has suffered discrimination and isolation in many parts of Sub Saharan Africa which have added to HIV vulnerability and left too many people behind in accessing treatment. I am proud of what we have achieved with this Fund and hope its work can continue.”

“PEPFAR’s commitment to key populations’ access to critical HIV prevention and treatment services remains strong,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “Our over $360 planned million investment for key populations in the next 12 months will expand non-discriminatory access for the most vulnerable individuals to quality, lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment services, restoring health and dignity and advancing progress toward achieving HIV/AIDS epidemic control.”

Pending Congressional approval, PEPFAR’s planned investment for expanding key populations’ access to HIV prevention and treatment services over the next year will include nearly $100 million previously committed for its Key Populations Investment Fund, which will primarily support indigenous organizations reaching key populations with HIV services in communities.

Elton John AIDS Foundation is the largest private European funder of HIV programs for key populations such as gay people, transgender people and sex workers. The Foundation has been funding the response for LGBT people for 25 years and is supporting programs across the Americas, Africa, Asia, UK and Eastern Europe. Foundation partners ran a national campaign for gay men in South Africa, set up new services for injecting drug users in Africa, and opened stigma‐free LGBT clinics in megacities like Lagos and New Delhi. The Foundation’s Eastern European initiative boldly supports key populations in a neglected region where the HIV epidemic is growing rapidly, while in the United States, the Foundation is among the biggest responders to the country’s opioid epidemic.

Collectively, these combined efforts in collaboration with community leaders and civil society will save and improve the lives of key populations in countries with high HIV‐burdens and contribute to the global goal of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.