Seventeen community-based organizations promoting HIV prevention and care for Black women received $8 million in awards from ViiV Healthcare, a pharmaceutical company dedicated to treatment and care for HIV.
POZ magazine stated that African American women make up nearly 61 percent of new HIV cases per year (among women). ViiV pointed out that Black women also often have slower access to pills and long-term injectables for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Earlier this year, ViiV launched the Risk to Reason initiative, which aims to offer stigma-free language when discussing HIV and Black women. The initiative is behind the grants and is also an outgrowth of its Positive Action for Women community program.
Kimberly Smith, MD, MPH, senior vice president and head of research and development at ViiV Healthcare, said, “With this — the largest fund in the U.S. dedicated to Black women and HIV — we are doubling down on our commitment to fuel a wave of action aimed at disrupting the disparities that keep Black women from engaging in HIV prevention and care.”
Jasmine Tasaki, executive director of Tennessee nonprofit grantee WeCareTN, told POZ, “We are excited to receive this grant and put this project into action. Our innovative work is essential to Black transgender women across the nation, especially since this group of women have historically been difficult to reach and link to care.”
Tasaki and other grantees feel that the tools available from the grants will allow the organizations to be better positioned to serve their communities.
“In the U.S., Black women are rarely prioritized when it comes to HIV,” added Smith. “That is why ViiV Healthcare is proud to fund community organizations that are leading a shift in this paradigm.”