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It’s going to give $2.6 million to three research groups across the world


The Foundation for AIDS Research is throwing money at more research into “the impact of innovative HIV service delivery models.”

The new funds, part of amfAR’s GMT Initiative are focused on models in low- and middle-income countries. The $2.6 million amfAR’s putting into this research will hopefully help with still negative statistics regarding HIV transmission among GMTs.

In an effort to address the unrelenting disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals—collectively known as “GMT” — amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, has awarded substantial new research grants to study the impact of innovative HIV service delivery models for GMT in low- and middle-income countries.

“Gay men and other MSM are estimated to be 19 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population,” reads a release from amfAR, “while transgender women are 49 times more likely to be living with the virus.

The three studies are being conducted at:

Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland), where according to amfAR:

Dr. Chris Beyrer of Johns Hopkins University will lead a team of researchers and community-based service providers (in collaboration with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance Myanmar) in evaluating the effectiveness of promising interventions for GMT in Myanmar, where increased HIV testing and treatment opportunities are becoming available. The researchers will assess the effectiveness of HIV self-testing done in the privacy of one’s home, point-of-care CD4 testing, and the use of “peer navigators” familiar with the local health system to help those newly diagnosed gain access to HIV treatment and care.

Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educació (Lima, Peru), where according to amfAR:

Dr. Javier Lama of Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación and his team aim to improve the continuum of care among transgender women by using an innovative model that integrates HIV prevention and treatment services with transgender-affirming medical care. Working in collaboration with the Boston-based Fenway Institute and two community GMT organizations, IMPACTA and EPICENTRO, Lama and his team will integrate routine cross-sex hormone therapy into HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention, testing and treatment services, and will implement health services and peer case management for 200 transgender women.

Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre (Bangkok, Thailand), where according to amfAR:

Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak and her team at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre aim to show how innovative technologies such as GMT-targeted websites using online counseling and support can be utilized to increase rates of HIV testing and referrals to prevention and treatment programs. Working in collaboration with Adam’s Love, a web-based health platform for GMT individuals, and two community-based organizations (Service Workers in Group/SWING and The Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand), the team will compare the effectiveness of online services and support interventions with traditional clinic-based HIV services, and a hybrid model that combines elements of both strategies.

So this newest donation is certainly international and far reaching. Over the three years of the funds’ disbursement, amfAR hopes to see “three major studies aimed at determining the most effective ways of identifying those who are HIV positive, putting them on treatment, and ensuring that they remain on treatment so that their virus is fully suppressed.”

“Research has shown that targeted interventions such as early diagnosis of HIV and suppression of viral load are critical to changing the course of the epidemic among GMT,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s chief executive officer. “Through implementation science research, we want to determine conclusively which interventions work best for different populations so that these strategies can be put into practice, scaled up, replicated, and start to make a real impact.”

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