As has been observed often, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020, is a national plan, not just a federal one. Active participation from stakeholders across all sectors of society is needed to put the Strategy into action and end the HIV epidemic. Illustrating how members of the corporate sector are contributing to implementing the Strategy, ViiV Healthcare recently awarded grants to five organizations to support innovative uses of digital tools to engage young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) along the HIV care continuum.
The grants are aligned with several of the Strategy’s principles and priorities. For example, the Strategy calls us to prioritize our responses to the communities where HIV is most concentrated, noting the particularly high burden of HIV among young Black gay and bisexual men. The grants, awarded as part of the company’s Positive Action MSM Youth Engagement Initiative, will assist recipient organizations in creating and/or disseminating youth-led social and digital communications solutions designed to help increase sexual health knowledge, reduce stigma, and facilitate linking young MSM to HIV care.
As an advocate for the thoughtful use of digital tools in the response to HIV, I was particularly pleased to see ViiV also acknowledge and build on the Strategy’s call to leverage digital tools “to enable the American people to access high-quality HIV information anywhere, anytime, on any device.” According to the company’s announcement about the awards, the grant recipients will reach young MSM through a variety of channels, including online videos, mobile apps, interactive web-based solutions, dating websites and text programs.
This is but one example of many that are now unfolding across the Nation as individuals and organizations from all sectors of society are seeking opportunities to align their activities with the principles and priorities of the Updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy. By continuing to work together in this more coordinated manner, and with contributions from all sectors, we will continue to advance toward the Strategy’s 2020 goals.