Gilead Sciences announced at the 21st annual U.S. Conference on AIDS on Thursday that it is pledging $1 million to help HIV organizations that have been impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The grants will be coordinated by the National Minority AIDS Council and AIDS UNITED, which also announced it will distribute $150,000 from its Southern HIV Impact Fund to help the hurricane relief efforts.
“Gilead’s generous contribution will make a tremendous difference for people living with HIV and for organizations serving them that were ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata said in a statement. “We must make sure that we reach the organizations most in need as rapidly as possible.”
Local community leaders will be appointed by NMAC to head an HIV Hurricane Relief Advisory Panel to help identify the greatest needs and prioritize the support from AIDS United.
The United States Conference on AIDS is currently underway in Washington, D.C. and invited delegates from hurricane-struck regions to come onstage during the announcement of the grants in order to honor them for their work.
— Gilead Sciences (@GileadSciences) September 7, 2017
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the South is an epicenter of the HIV epidemic, with over half of new AIDS diagnoses and deaths taking place in the southern region of the country.
“Hurricane Harvey adds a heightened sense of urgency to the organizations serving people living with HIV/AIDS,” said John Barnes, executive director of Funders Concerned About AIDS. “We are calling on organizations across the country to join Gilead Sciences and others in supporting the work that must be done to reverse these troubling trends.”