FOSTER CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) today announced the launch of the Gilead COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative, a 10-year, $100 million commitment to support organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States. Gilead will partner with three coordinating centers to lead the corporate giving program of the initiative: Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and the Southern AIDS Coalition. These coordinating centers will identify and provide funding to local organizations that are committed to addressing the epidemic throughout the region, focusing on capacity building and shared knowledge; wellbeing, mental health and trauma-informed care; and awareness, education and anti-stigma campaigns.
“HIV/AIDS remains an urgent public health crisis in the United States and this is particularly apparent in the Southern states where rates of new infection rival those seen in the 1980s. In some communities, those rates are actually rising – a chilling reminder that the epidemic is far from a thing of the past,” said Gregg Alton, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Medical Affairs, Gilead Sciences. “We recognize a collaborative effort is needed and we are very pleased to partner with local organizations that are uniquely positioned to address the epidemic on the ground.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Southern United States accounts for approximately 45 percent of all people living with an HIV diagnosis in the country, despite being home to only one third of the population.1,2 Nearly half of all people dying from HIV/AIDS in the United States live in a Southern state.3 HIV disproportionally affects Latinos; transgender women; Black women; and Black gay and bisexual men, in part due to stigma, poverty, lack of access to healthcare and racial inequality.4 Of all Black gay and bisexual men who were diagnosed with HIV in the United States in 2014, more than 60 percent live in a Southern state.
“Limited access to healthcare and information about life-saving advances in HIV treatment and prevention in the most vulnerable communities creates an environment where we, as a society, have the tools in hand to improve lives, but these resources are not being fully utilized to address the epidemic,” said Dr. Charlene Flash, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine. “We must take action and apply these resources to overcome this challenge as too many vulnerable people in the South cannot access, or worse still, are unaware of the existing life-saving tools to prevent and treat HIV.”
About the Gilead COMPASS Initiative
The Gilead COMPASS Initiative is a $100 million commitment over 10 years in the Southern United States supporting organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The corporate giving program of the initiative has a threefold mission: to build capacity and increase knowledge sharing among community-based, underfunded organizations in Southern states; to explore interventions that appropriately respond to patients’ needs, including the bundling or reframing of mental health care, as well as the intersection between substance use, the opioid epidemic and HIV/AIDS; and to fund awareness and anti-stigma campaigns. Through this initiative, Gilead plans to dramatically increase the reach of these organizations working to address the epidemic in the region, and ultimately to improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS.
About Gilead’s Commitment in HIV
For nearly 30 years, Gilead has been a leading innovator in the field of HIV, driving advances in treatment, prevention, testing and linkage to care and cure research. In further efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Gilead is conducting early-stage clinical research to identify novel agents and strategies that could play a role in eradicating HIV infection in the body.
Gilead’s corporate giving program aims to reduce disparities, provide access, advance education and support local communities. In 2016, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) recognized Gilead as the leading corporate global funder of HIV/AIDS programs, and second overall behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.
1 CDC. HIV in the United States by Geographic Distribution. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/geographicdistribution.html. Accessed: November 11, 2017.
2 United States Census Bureau. Annual Estimate of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015. Available at: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2014_PEPANNRES&src=pt. Accessed: November 14, 2017.
3 CDC. HIV in the Southern United States. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/policies/cdc-hiv-in-the-south-issue-brief.pdf. Accessed: November 13, 2017.
4 Valdiserri RO. HIV/AIDS Stigma: An Impediment to Public Health. Am J Public Health. 2002;92(3):341–34.
Quotes from Coordinating Centers
Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health: Capacity building and shared knowledge.
“Community-based organizations faced with diminishing long-term financial resources and increased community needs are challenged to ‘do more with less,’” said Candace Meadows, Project Director, Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center. “The Emory center will support organizations to enhance organizational capacity, operational efficiencies and their ability to secure resources that positively impact communities with greatest need.”
The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work: Wellbeing, mental health and trauma-informed care.
“We’re grateful for this opportunity to fight such an important, yet challenging, fight,” said Samira Ali, Project Director and Assistant Professor, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. “As part of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative, the University of Houston is committed to addressing HIV/AIDS disparities. By using a community-centered approach, we’ll mobilize people to be part of the solution.”
The Southern AIDS Coalition: Awareness, education and anti-stigma campaigns.
“We can end the HIV epidemic in the Southern United States,” said Nicholas Carlisle, Executive Director, Southern AIDS Coalition. “To do so will require broad, cross-sector collaboration where all stakeholders coordinate efforts, share best practices and leverage scarce resources in innovative and unprecedented ways.”