Transgender Leadership in Fight Against HIV

Author: AIDS United
Published: Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Summary: Demonstration grants to increase transgender leadership within organizations in community planning bodies and local networks to aid response to HIV.

Through the generous support of Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP, eight organizations in six states, DC and Puerto Rico were awarded AIDS United's first-ever demonstration grants to increase transgender leadership within organizations, in community planning bodies and in local networks to aid the response to HIV.

"The transgender community faces unique challenges in HIV prevention, treatment and care that are compounded by insensitivity and a shocking lack of culturally competent providers, as well as racial and ethnic health disparities, discrimination and stigma," said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan Jr.

Transgender women, especially transgender women of color, are more heavily affected by HIV than any other group in the United States, relative to their population size. Community leaders and policy makers must be made aware of the many barriers to good health faced by the transgender community, including violence and discrimination in areas such as housing, education and when accessing health care.

From a mentorship project for people living with HIV in Florida to providing job-readiness and advocacy training to individuals who have been recently released from prison or jail in San Francisco -- the eight grantee organizations are working to amplify the power of transgender people to address the HIV epidemic and make a difference in their communities.

The Transgender Leadership Initiative is grounded in learnings from a community-created consensus statement released by AIDS United in June 2017. The landmark statement outlines concrete and measurable steps organizations can take to improve their approach to HIV work in transgender communities. The resource is freely available at

"We are proud of this trailblazing initiative. Meaningful involvement of transgender leaders is paramount to turning the tide of the HIV epidemic and raising the profile of transgender leaders in our field. More efforts must be undertaken to recognize the realities of transgender lives and enable transgender individuals to take up leadership roles to address their safety, health and wellness," said Milan. Transgender Leadership Initiative grantees include:

"Janssen Infectious Diseases is extremely grateful for all that AIDS United is doing to improve HIV care in the transgender community," said Catherine Owen, president, Janssen Infectious Diseases. "We are honored to support the noble and critical work they are enabling through the Transgender Leadership Initiative."

AIDS United's mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy.

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