Gilead sciences awards US $ 80,000 for uplift of HIV patients in Pakistan

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Islamabad:   (Parliament Times)     Gilead Sciences announced the recipients of its
2019 Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant program, a regional grant initiative
that supports community-led programs for people living with HIV in the Asia
Pacific region. This was the first time non-governmental or advocacy
organizations in Pakistan were invited to submit their applications
for funding. Of the 15 submissions received from Pakistan, Naz Male Health Alliance (NAZ) is one of
the three recipients selected to receive the grant.

Through this year’s program, Gilead is awarding a total of US$1.4 million to
close to 40 projects across Asia Pacific. Of this over US $ 80,000 has been
distributed across the three Pakistani recipients.

NAZ has received the grant to further efforts
in their project ‘Naz initiative to combat PLHIV stigma & discrimination’
that intends to alleviate the social stigma and to diversify the workplace
through more inclusive HR policies for PLHIV. NAZ will develop a docu-drama and
a supporting social media campaign. They will engage with corporations and
conduct training sessions with their HR departments to sensitize them towards
PLHIV and help them develop inclusive HR policies. Finally, they will also
focus on engaging with universities to conduct an awareness campaign around the
stigma attached to PLHIV.

Commenting on the grant, Dr. Qasim Iqbal (PhD), Executive
Director, NAZ Pakistan said, “The stigma and discrimination faced by HIV
positive persons in a country like Pakistan is real. As a gay man living with
HIV, I strongly believe that we need to re-strategize the programming to combat
HIV related stigma and discrimination because the programming and interventions
implemented throughout the globe thus far have not worked. Therefore, we are
grateful to Gilead for providing us the resources that will
help us make life less stressful for the MSM and TGs living with HIV in Pakistan. We are excited about the potential
impact we believe this project will make. With the generous funds from Gilead, we have planned to target the general
population, employers and the youth.”

Started in 2018, the Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant
program directly supports HIV-related community-led projects. The program 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.

This year the ‘2019 Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant’
program is seeking to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV by
focusing on three priority areas: 1) access and quality of life; 2)
multidisciplinary care; and 3) diversity and inclusion. The Grant aims to
accelerate progress on the “Fourth 90”, which complements the “90-90-90” global
treatment goals established by UNAIDS to end HIV. These targets 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.

“For people living with HIV, the virus is one among myriad
factors that contribute to their total health and well-being,” said Amy Flood,
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Gilead Sciences, Inc. “The Asia Pacific
Rainbow Grant program recognizes the need for a broader approach to helping
people with HIV live well – one that goes beyond HIV suppression – and the
central role of community-based organizations in helping to address the diverse
challenges that can affect quality of life, including mental well-being and
HIV-related discrimination.”

A total of 136 entries were received across the Asia
Pacific region during the grant application window.

Gilead has expanded the grants program to 18
countries or territories in the region – nearly doubling the geographic scope
from last year’s program. This is the first year Gilead has opened the grant to Pakistan.