Elton John: New HIV Fund Makes ‘Horribly Clear’ How LGBT Human Rights Abuses Are a Barrier to Ending AIDS

Rapid ResponseA Rapid Response Fund to support HIV services at risk as a result of human rights violations has been launched by the International HIV AIDS Alliance.

In its first few weeks the $4 million LGBT Rapid Response Fund received more than 235 applications from organizations providing HIV services.

The fund supports organizations working with LGBT in 29 countries in response to situations where HIV services are threatened because of stigma, discrimination or violence.

Grants from $500 to $20,000 are available from the fund which is supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and UNAIDS.

For World Aids Day the Alliance has issued a report Rapid Response: Breaking down the barriers preventing LGBT people and men who have sex with men from accessing HIV services detailing the fund’s work.

Sir Elton John said: “This work is badly needed. In a short space of time, the fund received more than 235 applications. Each request makes horribly clear just how much LGBT human rights abuses serve as a barrier to ending AIDS. Now more than ever it’s time for government leaders and philanthropists to join efforts to overcome the anti-LGBT stigma, discrimination and violence that is making the HIV epidemic worse.”

Shaun Mellors, Director Knowledge and Influence at the International HIV AIDS Alliance, said: “Stigma, discrimination and violence mean HIV services for LGBT people and men who have sex with men are regularly prevented from operating.

“Today’s report highlights what’s been achieved in the fund’s first few weeks alone. It has helped re-house people living with HIV targeted after police raids in Uganda; supported homeless people from the LGBT community left without HIV medication after a natural disaster in Jamaica; and supported LGBT groups that have come under threat as a result of state-sponsored crackdowns in East Africa.”