Gilead sciences awards $0.25M to advance quality of life for Australians living with HIV

Four Australian organisations were awarded from more than 136 Submissions received from Asia Pacific community organisations.

 

Currently, almost half (46%) of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia are aged 50 years or older and are the first generation to grow old with the condition. According to a recent report, people ageing with HIV have many complex needs such as co-morbidities, HPV related cancers, poly pharmacy, social isolation and negotiating access to government-funded services (MyAged Care and or NDIS). (https://napwha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HIV-and-Ageing-in-Australia-New-Frontier-April19.pdf)

 

Gilead Sciences announced the recipients of its inaugural Gilead Together Grant program in Australia, an initiative that supports community-led programs for people living with HIV. The Gilead Together Grant is part of the Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant program; this year, Gilead is awarding a total of $1.4 million USD to close to 40 organisations across Asia Pacific.

 

Four Australian organisations have been awarded a share of the Gilead Together Grant:

  • Living Positive Victoria
  • National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA)
  • ACON
  • Positive Women Victoria.

 

The successful projects all seek to address unmet needs in HIV care to improve quality of life for those living with the condition.

 

NAPWHA has received a grant for a national peer navigation program, in which people living with HIV provide help to those newly diagnosed, using best practice tools and information through a specially developed portal.

 

Scott Harlum, President of NAPWHA said, “We know that when people are first diagnosed with HIV, having the support of a peer who has been through it before can help them navigate their diagnosis and can have a dramatic improvement in their outcomes. It means a better understanding of the disease and what to expect and a much greater chance of adhering to treatment.”

 

Jaime McCoy, General Manager at Gilead Sciences Australia said, “At Gilead, we know that the work community groups do is vital in bringing Australia closer to the ultimate goal of stopping the virus.

 

“The projects we’re supporting through the Together Grant reflect our own belief that to end the HIV epidemic, we have to look at the full picture beyond just prevention and treatment– at stigma, at ageing well and at the provision of support for those currently living with HIV. We know that it will take this inclusive approach and working collaboratively to ensure that together we can stop the virus.”

 

ACON’s grant will focus on challenging HIV stigma by giving voice to community members. With unique and diverse stories, ACON aims to create a campaign showcasing people living with HIV in 2020 in Australia.

 

Karl Johnson, ACON Manager of Gay Men’s Sexual Health Programs, said, “Data shows that HIV stigma still touches a majority of our community. Our work is never done until that is not the case. With this project we hope we can make a real change, challenge misperceptions and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV in Australia.”

 

Other winners of the 2019 Together Grant include:

  • Living Positive Victoria: a Peer Navigation Program aimed at people living with HIV who are experiencing the effects of ageing with HIV.
  • Positive Women Victoria: an integrated program of resources and events for, and led by, women with HIV to tackle stigmatising myths and build lasting personal and community responses.

 

This is the first year Gilead has offered the Together Grant in Australia.

 

The Together Grant is part of the Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant program, an initiative that directly supports HIV-related community-led projects. The program, started in 2018, is part of Gilead's broader efforts to enhance public-private partnerships in the Asia Pacific region to address the challenges facing communities affected by HIV.

 

HIV/AIDS remains one of the world’s foremost health challenges. In 2018, 37.9 million people around the world were living with HIV, 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV and 14.6 million people globally were still in need of treatment.1

 

This year, the 2019 Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant is focussed on the “Fourth 90”, an extension of the “90-90-90” global treatment goals established by UNAIDS to end HIV. Australia is very close to meeting if not surpassing the original three targets which set the goal that by 2030, 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of people who know their HIV-positive status will be on treatment, and 90 percent of people on treatment will have a suppressed viral load. The Fourth 90 target aims to ensure that 90 percent of people living with HIV achieve a good health-related quality of life.2

 

About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with global headquarters in Foster City, California.

 

1 UNAIDS (2019). UNAIDS Data 2019. Available at: https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2019/2019-UNAIDS-data [Accessed October 2019].

2 Beyond viral suppression of HIV – the new quality of life frontier (2016)

https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-016-0640-4

 

3 February 2020.