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Today the EJAF today awarded $4.1 million to 38 organisations addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in critical and innovative ways. This is the first of two grant cycles for 2016 and builds on the foundation’s ongoing support for organisations throughout the Americas and Caribbean.

“For nearly 25 years, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has been committed to aggressively confronting the HIV/AIDS epidemic where it exists,” said Elton. “We are proud of this newest round of investments, in which we fund advocacy and services in over 30 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.”

A key objective of the EJAF‘s giving is to increase the resilience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and the organisations that serve LGBT communities. As part of this grant-making cycle, the philanthropy provided grants to support free health and legal service programs, to strengthen fellowships and scholarships for emerging community leaders, and to bolster transgender-led organisations and programs. The foundation also renewed its commitment to promoting the health and rights of migrants and asylum seekers by funding related programs in New York, Los Angeles, Tijuana, and Toronto which help LGBT and HIV-positive people who have had to flee their countries and are in need of resettlement.

The charity also dedicated a significant portion of this grant-making cycle to support initiatives advancing HIV-related policies and advocacy efforts. This includes pro bono legal and litigation services for people fighting insurance discrimination; education for state legislators about the importance of federal and state funding for programs helping people access medicines and health services; and support for HIV activists in the Southern U.S. advancing city and state policies and programs to reduce HIV infection rates and improve the health of people living with HIV.

This includes the allocation of $710,000 to six organisations fighting the criminalisation of people living with HIV. These organisations work to change state laws that allow the arrest and criminal prosecution of people with HIV for not disclosing their status to sexual partners and for having sex even when there is no risk of HIV transmission. It’s believed such laws are stigmatising, ineffective and counterproductive in preventing HIV transmission.  

“Our grantees are on the front lines of the HIV epidemic,” said Scott Campbell, the EJAF‘s executive director. “As one of the largest funders in the world dedicated to ending AIDS, we are committed to making real-time investments that address the latest trends in the epidemic and also providing ongoing support for tried and true strategies that improve access to healthcare and ensure basic human rights for people most affected by the epidemic.”

View a complete list and descriptions of all 38 grants.