London-based RADIAN has announced a first round of grants totaling $25 million in support of efforts to reduce HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) — the only global region where new infections are rising rapidly, Reuters reports.
Launched in 2019 as a joint initiative of Gilead Sciences and the Elton John AIDS Foundation to reduce the number of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in EECA, RADIAN selected Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the rate of HIV prevalence is nearly twice the national average, as its first "model city." Announced in a video by EJAF co-founder Elton John and his husband, EJAF chair David Furnish, the grants will support six organizations working to provide stigma-free prevention, testing, and healthcare services in the city and surrounding area. Recipients of grants awarded through RADIAN’s Unmet Needs Fund include E.V.A., which is working to address gaps in access to care for people living with HIV in six high-prevalence regions in Russia, and Trans*Map, which empowers transgender people in five EECA countries to advocate for their inclusion in their government HIV programs.
"This region has seen a dramatic 72 [percent] increase in new HIV infections in the last decade when the global rate has decreased by 23 [percent]," said Furnish in a statement. "Considering we have the tools and treatment to prevent and treat HIV, this is shocking, and we are committed to not leave anyone behind."