ViiV Healthcare was created when pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline spun off their HIV assets in 2009. The UK-based company is now the world's second-largest corporation, after Gilead Sciences, working on treatment for HIV. Working on HIV treatments isn’t all ViiV does; it also devotes millions of philanthropic dollars annually to fighting HIV/AIDS around the globe.
Lately, the company has been building quite the reputation for funding HIV/AIDS programs aimed at helping overlooked populations. Its recent investment announcement of £2 million per year to its Through Positive Action program is a case in point.
This program is a new initiative at ViiV, and is designed to alleviate the burden and impact of HIV and AIDS among transgender people and men who have sex with men (MSM), focusing its efforts around the world. ViiV hasn’t laid out a long term plan for the initiative yet, but its first phase will take place over the next two years.
Phase one involves community-led interventions toward reducing stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS status. The overall goal here is to encourage MSM and transgender individuals to seek out safe HIV care and services through quality health care providers. Each of the participating communities will receive financial support from ViiV to help them build capacity and participate in policymaking that effects MSM and transgender populations.
HIV/AIDS rates as they apply to global MSM and transgender populations give you a peek into why ViiV is focusing its giving so heavily here:
- MSM and transgender individuals are among those at the highest risk of HIV infection.
- HIV prevalence rates in MSM and transgender populations are consistently higher than men in the general population.
- Less than one in 10 MSM and transgender individuals have access to basic HIV/AIDS preventative interventions.
Michael N. Joyner, Director of Positive Action and Patient Advocacy at ViiV Healthcare further explains ViiV Healthcare’s HIV/AIDS grantmaking focus, stating, "Without a dedicated focus on the needs of MSM and transgender communities, who still endure significant stigma, discrimination and health disparities, we cannot achieve the worldwide goal of reducing HIV transmission."
Though ViiV is currently focusing a lot of its HIV/AIDS efforts and MSM and transgender populations, these are not its only areas of focus. ViiV has poured millions of dollars into the Positive Action for Children Fund, which concentrates its efforts on preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy. The company also awards smaller, positive action community grants in the regions around the world where ViiV Healthcare offices are located.