Gilead Sciences Statement on Grants to Spouses of Caricom Leaders Action Network (SCLAN) to Expand Access to Youth HIV Prevention and Care in the Caribbean
FOSTER CITY, Calif., September 27, 2018 — Gilead Sciences, Inc. today announced that it will provide grant funding to the Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN) to help expand access to HIV prevention and treatment for adolescents and young adults, particularly those at high risk for HIV infection in the Caribbean, the establishment of a permanent administrative office, and demonstration projects in Belize and Guyana. The grants will also support the launch of the Caribbean region’s first-ever adolescent sexual and reproductive health fund. The work will be done in collaboration with national government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and multilateral partners.
The Caribbean region has the second-highest HIV prevalence and rate of new infections in the world, and almost half of the total population of the Caribbean is under the age of 24. The new grants will enable SCLAN and partners to develop programs that aim to address gaps in HIV prevention and treatment services for adolescents and youth across the Caribbean alongside Belize and Guyana, whose leadership serves as the catalyst for what can be achieved in Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, and others. Based on data from the programs in Belize and Guyana, community partners will work to understand unmet needs and identify those at highest risk for HIV infection, especially young women and girls. The outcomes will be measured to better inform future programs in other Caribbean countries and allow SCLAN to advance its mission of one strong voice advocating for policy, civil society support and strategic partnerships for a healthier Caribbean. The funding will also support development and implementation of a social marketing campaign to increase awareness of HIV risk factors and prevention methods.
“Too many young people in the Caribbean are infected with HIV, either because of a lack of knowledge of risk or lack of access to healthcare,” said Clifford Samuel, Senior Vice President, Access Operations & Emerging Markets, Gilead Sciences. “We are proud to collaborate with SCLAN and support its efforts to address the underlying risk factors that threaten the health of Caribbean youth.”
“The strength of this collaboration is it addresses HIV holistically by targeting the factors that put our young people at risk, including a lack of awareness, exposure to gender-based violence, and stigma and discrimination that may prevent some people from getting tested or seeking treatment,” said Mrs. Sandra Granger, First Lady of Guyana and Vice Chair of SCLAN. “Even more importantly, while we aim for these early pilot programs to benefit Guyana and Belize, our findings will hopefully benefit other countries in our region.”
“Our network of first spouses is uniquely positioned not only to advocate for, but also take concrete actions to address the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean, and our partnership with Gilead will enhance our efforts,” said Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, First Lady of Belize and Chair of SCLAN. “With these grants, we will work hard to equip young people with the tools and knowledge they need to protect their health and well-being, reduce their risk for HIV and aspire to productive futures.”
This work is part of Gilead’s effort to provide sustainable access to high-quality, low-cost therapies for HIV, viral hepatitis and visceral leishmaniasis for millions of people in 140 developing countries. This year marks 15 years since Gilead began treatment access initiatives in developing countries. Today, an estimated 11.5 million people in low- and middle-income countries take Gilead HIV medicines. Recognizing that more action is needed to end AIDS, Gilead continues to build partnerships to strengthen the global HIV response and to invest in R&D that may improve HIV treatment and prevention options – including research toward a potential cure.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.