The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation awards HIV/AIDS grants out of its Secure the Future initiative, which began as a 5-year, $100 million program. Since its early years in the late 1990s, Secure the Future has funded over 250 HIV/AIDS programs.
What’s interesting about BMS funding is that it focuses on some pretty unique HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. For example, BMS has awarded grants to support programs to help out grandparents of children affected by HIV in semirural settings and for the support of people with disabilities living with HIV.
The latest round of grants, totalling $1.5 million, stays on that same sort of unique giving track, but this time it has some unusual cancer tie-ins.
First up is the foundation’s grant to the Young Positive Generation of Lesotho. This grant will support the organization’s work in empowering young people living with HIV through skills training, psychosocial support and business management training programs. A portion of the money will also be used to implement cancer awareness and new advocacy programs aimed at vulnerable youth populations in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa.
Next is a grant to the National University of Lesotho School of Pharmacy Faculty. The university will use the BMS grant to help incorporate pharmacists into rural healthcare teams treating elderly HIV patients.
BMS is also addressing the importance of treating HIV co-infections. Globally, HIV positive women are reportedly three times more likely to contract the cervical cancer-causing virus HPV. In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of HIV positive women also have HPV. To those ends, BMS granted the Swaziland Breast and Cervical Cancer Network a grant to support its ongoing cervical cancer screening services in rural communities.
Continuing its HIV-cancer related funding theme, BMS awarded a grant to the Right to Care Project. The money will be funneled toward increased healthcare worker training in Ethiopia, Swaziland, and South Africa with a focus on building capacity for cervical and breast cancer screenings for HIV positive patients.
Finally, BMS awarded the South African-based ISIBANI Development Project a grant to help the organization implement its ENGAGE-TB project. The money will help ISIBANI scale up the HIV/TB services of local civic organizations.