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HIV/AIDS has become a disaster in Pakistan: YDA

KARACHI: Gilead Sciences recently announced the recipients of its 2019 Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant program. The Youth Association for Development (YAD) received the grant to further efforts in their ‘Access to Quality Health and Life Program’ for people living with HIV/AIDS, youth, vulnerable populations, and people with high-risk behaviors in the district Quetta of Baluchistan. Through this year’s program, Gilead was awarding a total of US$1.4 million to fund approximately 40 projects across the Asia Pacific region. Of this, $ 80,000 had been distributed over the US across three Pakistani recipients.

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, the Youth Association for Development is one of the three recipients selected to receive the grant.

Commenting on the grant, Atta ul Haq, Founder of YAD, said, “HIV/AIDS has become a disaster in Pakistan due to religious, customs, traditions, cultural taboo, bonded, barriers, hate, walls, stigma, and discrimination by the society. The disease is spreading fast due to a lack of access to services, guidance, treatment, testing, screening, counseling, and a lack of information in Pakistan. It is the need of the hour to consider HIV/AIDS as an emergency in Pakistan.” “Keeping this epidemic in mind, we aim to improve access to quality healthcare by increasing demand and supply, response, linkage, guidance, treatment, counseling, and referral. Additionally, we aim to improve access, demand, and supply of quality healthcare through the engagement of HCP, communities, stakeholders, as well as the youth of Quetta district by 40%.”

Atta ul Haq said that the Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant program directly supported HIV-related community-led projects. The program was 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: access and quality of life, multidisciplinary care, and 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% of people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status will be on treatment, and 90% of people on treatment will have a suppressed viral load. The Fourth 90 target aims to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV achieve a good health-related quality of life.

“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 the quality of life, including mental well-being and HIV-related discrimination.” One hundred thirty-six entries were received across the Asia Pacific region during the grant application window.

December 19, 2019

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