GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media advocacy group, and the Gilead COMPASS Initiative® announced the agenda for their first HIV Stigma and Faith Summit. The three-day virtual event takes place February 24 to 26, with the goal of training and educating leaders to better respond to the HIV/AID epidemic in the Southern United States. Queer Eye’s Karamo, trans activist and entrepreneur Angelica Ross, director Patrik-Ian Polk, and writer, activist, and former Out executive editor Raquel Willis are scheduled to participate. GLAAD and the Gilead COMPASS Initiative are sharing hosting duties with Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Southern AIDS Coalition, and Wake Forest University School of Divinity.
“GLAAD has been working diligently to foster and center community voices around key issues, HIV being one of them especially in the South,” DaShawn Usher, programs officer, communities of color, for GLAAD, said in a statement today. “Our State of HIV Stigma Study showed us that there was more work to be done when it came to changing hearts and minds.”
“Our work with organizations across the Southern United States has made clear that faith-based communities offer an important channel to reach people living with and at risk of HIV,” said Shanell McGoy, director, public affairs, at Gilead Sciences. “GLAAD is an important partner to help shift narratives, reduce stigma and educate people about HIV.
The three-day virtual event will feature free daily panels discussions with faith leaders, medical and advocacy experts, celebrities, local activists, and journalists. In addition to the free daily panels, there will also be specific training for activists wishing to learn the best practices in dealing with the crisis.
COMPASS is the 10-year, $100 million collaborative initiative to address the underlying issues contributing to the HIV epidemic in the southern region of the United States. Gilead Sciences recently announced Wake University’s School of Divinity will become the initiative’s fourth coordinating center, focusing much of their efforts into the Black church and other faith-based initiatives to reach underserved and traditionally marginalized communities at greatest risk in the region.