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When the Elton John AIDS Foundation committed itself to strengthening the resilience of the HIV movement and to support initiatives that empower community-based leaders from a variety of diverse backgrounds, they joined the Human Rights Campaign and put $600,000 worth of grants to work to create the inaugural HIV 360° Fellowship Program.
The 2015 grant helped to launch the HIV 360° Fellowship Program and continued to support HRC’s efforts to increase awareness of HIV prevention, treatment, and care among LGBTQ people, specifically focusing on young gay and bisexual men and transgender women.
Ten incredible young leaders were chosen to receive nine months of intensive leadership training to elevate their HIV advocacy work in communities that continue to be deeply impacted by the epidemic.
“At EJAF, we believe collaborative, unified efforts like the HIV 360° Fellowship Program are critical to stopping the spread of HIV within communities that continue to be hit the hardest by the epidemic,” said Scott Campbell, executive director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “We are very proud to be the primary funder for this groundbreaking program that is specifically focused on cultivating young leaders from diverse backgrounds with different ideas about how to stop the spread and stigma of HIV.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, adds, “Despite all our progress, HIV continues to ravage the LGBTQ community, with homophobia and transphobia fueling the stigma that keeps far too many away from testing, prevention, and treatment programs. These diverse leaders already have tremendous experience in their respective fields and communities, and we look forward to working with them to halt the spread and stigma of HIV once and for all.”
The HIV 360° Fellowship Program recently held its first retreat at HRC’s Washington, DC, headquarters. The fellows met with experts from amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, AIDS United, Casa Ruby, NAESM Inc., Whitman-Walker Health, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, and have already begun creating networks and other initiatives amongst their other young fellows.
In the upcoming pages we asked a few of the 10 fellows selected for the HIV 360° Fellowship Program’s inaugural class — all of whom are under age 35 and are currently undertaking leadership roles in community-focused organizations across two dozen states — to tell us about what this means to them.