–3 Pakistani recipients out of 136 submissions received from Community Organizations across the region–

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Gilead Sciences today 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, Youth Advocacy Council, Pakistan 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.

Youth Advocacy Council (YAC), Pakistan has received the grant to further their efforts in HIV/AIDs prevention and increasing access to healthcare for the transgender community in Pakistan through consultative services, peer support programs along with sensitization, prevention, and education workshops with relevant stakeholders.

Commenting on the grant, Mohsin Khan, Co-Founder and interim CEO of YAC Pakistan, said, “The transgender community in Pakistan is battling severe health and economic inequality. Beside social stigma, they are facing pressing health challenges, and are largely susceptible to HIV and AIDs and other diseases. This grant will really help us to implement our innovative and integrated initiative to combat transphobic stigma and address the health challenges that these communities are facing. We are overwhelmed by the support Gilead has provided, which will enable us to engage, educate and empower the transgender community, especially the youth, and work together against social and economic injustice while creating a vibrant and inclusive society in Pakistan.”

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[1].

“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.