Far too little of the money being spent globally to fight HIV is focused on gay and bisexual men or transgender women, according to a new study.
Only 1 percent of the $57 billion in worldwide donor funding for HIV prevention and treatment went to programs serving gay and bi men from 2016 to 2018, Dutch charity Aidsfond announced this week, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. Yet about 20 percent of new HIV infections around the world are in this population.
Trans people accounted for about 1 percent of new HIV infections in 2018, but only 0.06 percent of funding was targeted toward serving them, according to Aidsfond. Most funds go to programs aimed at the general population.
Activists blamed stigma for the funding shortfall for these groups, and they also pointed to a need for programs focusing on certain other high-risk populations, such as sex workers and their clients and injection drug users.
“Because of stigma and discrimination, because of social attitudes that are derogatory ... all of these things influence the way in which development partners designate resources,” Brian Macharia of the Gay & Lesbian Coalition of Kenya told Reuters.
In many countries, LGBTQ+ people are reluctant to seek help from organizations serving the general population, as they fear discrimination, added Mirjam Krijnen, who is in charge of international programs at Aidsfond.
“Specific targeted services and safe spaces for those groups to actually access those services are necessary,” she told Reuters. “Otherwise there’s a real risk ... these groups are actually not accessing the care they need.”