Vice President, Public Affairs, Gilead Sciences
Chief Executive Officer, Elton John AIDS Foundation
With HIV on the rise in EECA, a ground-breaking partnership is helping to tackle HIV in the region
To many, the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic felt uncomfortably similar to the early years of the HIV epidemic, with the same fear, stigma, and speculation about how they are transmitted.
COVID-19 has now been in our lives less than a year but is still affecting us all. Nearly 40 years on from the start of the HIV epidemic, it is at risk of becoming an afterthought despite its ongoing impact on the lives of millions worldwide, especially in regions where HIV rates are increasing.
HIV is on the rise in EECA
Although the global community has the tools to end the epidemic, HIV is still rising in EECA, where an estimated 1.7 million people live with HIV.1 While new infections have declined by 37% and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses have halved globally over the last 20 years, in EECA, new infections have increased by 183% and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses have risen by 190%.1
We have to act now
“We cannot leave the people in EECA behind. To end HIV by 2030 worldwide, we must act now,” says Anne Aslett, Chief Executive Officer, Elton John AIDS Foundation. “To see the same progress in EECA that we are seeing globally, we must work together to ensure everyone – including the most vulnerable – has equal respect, support, and access to care.”
Local communities and leaders are working on local solutions, but the magnitude of the epidemic in EECA means that additional funding and support is urgently needed.
To see the same progress in EECA that we are seeing globally, we must work together to ensure everyone – including the most vulnerable – has equal respect, support, and access to care.
Helping to tackle HIV in EECA
Recognising these needs, Gilead Sciences partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to launch RADIAN in 2019. This ground-breaking, five-year partnership is supporting and strengthening proven models of prevention and care in EECA.
The first grantees of the RADIAN Unmet Need fund are already delivering vital support to people in EECA, while in Almaty, Kazahkstan, the first RADIAN Model City, six organisations are working closely with local government to strengthen the city’s HIV response.
“When we launched RADIAN, we had no idea we would be facing the significant global health threat of COVID-19. The pandemic has affected us all, but for those living with HIV in EECA the role of local initiatives, like those supported by RADIAN, are more important than ever,” says Anne Aslett. “Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the RADIAN grantees have demonstrated significant results and we look forward to seeing how their work creates real change for those in the region, both now and in the future.”
To find out more visit radianhiv.org.
Job No: IHQ-HIV-2020-11-0036 | Date of Preparation: November 2020
1 UNAIDS Data 2020. Available at: unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2020/unaids-data [Accessed November 2020]