Since the M·A·C AIDS Fund (MAF) launched in 1994, we have been dedicated to supporting bold and innovative organizations around the world that provide vital services and strengthen the safety net for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. To keep our grant-making relevant and responsive, we meet regularly with leaders in the field - our grantees, peer funders, and the people working on the front lines - to stay aware of emerging needs and trends and identify funding and service gaps.
Through our grantmaking we will continue to support programs and collaborations all over the world that effectively and strategically focus on underserved and stigmatized populations and promote leadership, best practices, and innovation in direct services, prevention, and other areas critical in the fight against HIV/AIDS in these three areas:
For obvious reasons, stopping new HIV infections remains a critical component of the global strategy to end HIV/AIDS. We’ve taken that logic and mobilized around the most vulnerable populations, working around the world to assist groups that are exposed to a much higher risk for HIV infection due to societal factors and certain high-risk behaviors. These populations include sex workers, injection drug users, prisoners and people living in under-resourced areas with high HIV prevalence such as in India and the Caribbean. This is a concern not only in developing countries, but also in the United States, where certain at-risk groups such as men who have sex with men and poor, urban African-American women have HIV rates that rival those of some countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Each program we fund uses proven ways to reduce new infections either by impacting risky behavior such as needle exchanges, or providing tools—either behavior-based or biomedical—for safer sex. And with each program we support, we get closer to seeing an AIDS-free generation in our lifetime.
With a laser focus on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the M•A•C AIDS Fund serves people of All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. You will find us on nearly every front of the global fight against HIV/AIDS. We help connect people to life-saving care, and once someone is linked to support and treatment, we help keep them there. Looking to protect the next generation, we back programs that provide treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent HIV transmission to their newborns. From expanding access to HIV treatment to preventing HIV transmission from mothers to babies to retaining people in care, we’re just getting warmed up.
Here’s some good news: the HIV/AIDS epidemic has drastically changed over the last 30+ years, with better ways to treat and provide care to give many living with HIV/AIDS longer, healthier lives. As the epidemic has evolved, so have the needs of those affected. Yet for the most marginalized, underserved populations at the highest risk of infection, keeping the disease in check is often overshadowed by a lack of access too necessities such as food, transportation and housing.
Our response is to fund community programs and services that provide daily support and essential poverty-based direct services, helping people living with HIV/AIDS to reprioritize their health. Since the start of the Fund in 1994, we have committed more than $50 million to programs like these. We’ll continue to make them a priority.
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission
330,000. That’s the estimated new HIV infections globally among children. In 2011, a number that shows how much work is left to do. While access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services has been improving, in the countries with the highest burden, less than two-thirds of women who needed PMTCT services had access to them as recently as 2011. We are supporters of the “Global Plan” international partnership, along with co-chairs UNAIDS and the U.S. State Department. The goal of the Global Plan is simple: To stop new HIV infections in children by 2015. We have committed more than $8 million to the cause, with a primary focus on highly impacted countries: South Africa, Nigeria, and India.
UNICEF, SOUTH AFRICA
The transmission of HIV from mother to child continues to be the primary cause of HIV infection in South Africa for children younger than 15. In response, we partnered with UNICEF and the South African National Department of Health to roll out the country’s National Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) Plan, which expands the availability of PMTCT services to local primary health clinics in five of the country’s seven provinces. To date, more than three million pregnant women have been tested for HIV/AIDS, and more than 40,000 HIV-positive pregnant women have received medicine to prevent their babies from being born with HIV.
More than 80% of pregnant women living with HIV in India do not receive the services needed to prevent HIV transmission to their infants. SAATHI (meaning “friend” in Nepali) provides comprehensive PMTCT and antenatal care services to pregnant women and their families in the five states of India where the majority of HIV-positive pregnant mothers live. With our support, SAATHI is training health workers to ensure that HIV-positive women and infants receive the services they need, and it is building more than 200 health care facilities to deliver PMTCT services.
Retention in Care
Over 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic and there are still people living with HIV/AIDS who are unable to stay in medical care and on treatment that can improve or extend their lives. In the U.S., while more than six out of 10 people living with HIV/AIDS are linked to care, only about 50% of them stick with it. we think that is unacceptable, which is why we are supporting cutting-edge programs being rolled out around the world that make sure people are given a fighting chance to stay in HIV care.
AIDS UNITED, USA
AIDS United works with partners across the U.S. to make sure that people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS have access to the prevention and care services they need. We are partnering with AIDS United to pilot new approaches— such as through our $4 million investment in the Retention-in-Care Initiative—that keep people in care. Programs supported through this initiative focus on different models to better engage and serve underserved populations in care and treatment programs, including men who have sex with men (MSM), transgendered individuals, women with histories of violence and trauma, and people living with HIV/AIDS in underserved areas including the deep South and rural communities.
With HIV treatment, it is important to take medicine as early as possible after diagnosis to maximize its effectiveness. Treatment also rewards consistency; Doctors have shown that people who stay on treatment have better long-term health and significantly reduce their chances of passing HIV to their sexual partners. Access and adherence to treatment are critical, and by supporting programs that target these issues, we not only help ensure that individuals live longer, healthier lives, but also help stop the future spread of HIV.
CHAI, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) works in more than 20 countries to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local HIV/AIDS programs. Through grants from the M•A•C AIDS Fund, CHAI is partnering with the Dominican Republic government to eliminate national shortages of HIV medicine, reduce costs of medicine and increase the number of HIV tests performed.
The Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO) was the first worldwide institution established to combat HIV/AIDS. After more than three decades of never closing its doors or charging fees, it continues to work in close partnership with the Haitian government to provide HIV testing, care and treatment from dozens of locations throughout Haiti. In Haiti, 45% of all patients with HIV/AIDS and more than 50% of those on antiretroviral therapy are in the GHESKIO network. At the primary clinic, GHESKIO-INLR, 15% of approximately 30,000 newly tested persons are HIV-infected.
Food and Nutrition
Low-income people living with HIV/AIDS are too often forced to choose between paying for medication or for food. That’s why programs that deliver nutritional meals, operate food pantries and link those in need to government-sponsored initiatives, such as the Food Stamp program in the U.S., are essential in providing care to the HIV/AIDS community. The M•A•C AIDS Fund has provided more than $30 million U.S. in support of important programs that help people living with HIV/AIDS meet their daily needs.
PROJECT OPEN HAND, USA
Project Open Hand meets community nutrition needs through programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, the homebound/critically ill and seniors in San Francisco and Alameda counties. We have proudly funded Project Open Hand for years, making sure that healthy meals—prepared by professional chefs and delivered by dedicated volunteers—make their way to a grateful community. The M•A•C AIDS Fund has supported Project Open Hand since 1996 and has awarded almost $2 million to support the delivery of meals to people living with HIV/AIDS.
THE FOOD CHAIN, UK
As the only organization in the United Kingdom focused on providing nutritional services to people living with HIV/AIDS, The Food Chain works with a network of skilled volunteers to save and change lives by providing a range of tailored support to people living with HIV/AIDS. With our support of more than $500,000 since 1999, The Food Chain has provided nutrition counseling, communal eating opportunities, home-delivered meals, groceries and cooking/nutrition classes, all crafted to reach those most in need.
Here’s a simple truth: if you don’t have a roof over your head, staying on treatment becomes less of a concern than finding a safe, warm bed. So we’ve made it a priority to provide stable housing for folks in need, reducing avoidable health emergencies associated with homelessness while creating cost savings that often offset all, or part of the housing cost. Our Housing Program funds organizations that provide housing for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families and empowering low-income communities by increasing their access to permanent housing. MAF has provided more than $10 million U.S. to support housing programs and housing-related services for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.
BAILEY HOUSE, USA
Bailey House provides stable housing and a variety of complementary services that are essential for people living with HIV/AIDS. We support Bailey House’s Supportive Housing Apartment Program, which provides housing and services Such as substance abuse and mental health counseling, skills training and support groups for individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS in our own backyard in New York City.
DR. PETER AIDS FOUNDATION, CANADA
The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation offers British Columbia's only HIV/AIDS Day Health Program and 24-hour specialized nursing care residence with short- and long-term care. With our support of more than $700,000 CAD since 1997, Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation provides housing, meals, medical services and other support services including group support, case management, counseling, and harm reduction and substance abuse-related
Poverty-Based Direct Services
Around the world, we support programs that address the basic needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, needs such as transportation, case management, individual client advocacy and legal services. These programs take a variety of forms depending on the unique needs of each local community, and all aim to enable individuals living with HIV/AIDS to live as independently as possible and improve their quality of life.
TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST, UK
Over the last three decades, the Terrence Higgins Trust has established itself as the UK’s leading voice on HIV/AIDS and sexual health. In response to rising levels of poverty, we provide support for the Trust’s Hardship Fund, which gives grants to the most financially distressed people living with HIV/AIDS.
The HIV epidemic remains strongly linked to substance use and addiction. Sharing used syringes is the primary method of HIV transmission among injection drug users (IDUs), which make up an estimated three million of those living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. While experts agree that syringe exchange programs reduce HIV transmissions, these programs are not widely used due to political stigma. Even in the face of great pressure from governments worldwide, we have led this field in the funding community by backing grassroots programs that offer syringe exchanges and clean needles.
BOOM! Health, USA
BOOM! Health provides assistance to active drug users who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in New York City. The syringe exchange program we support has been shown not only to reduce the incidence of HIV in the local drug-using population, but do so in a cost-effective manner at less than $1 per sterile syringe.
CACTUS MONTREAL, CANADA
CACTUS Montreal was one of the first needle exchange programs in North America. Since 2011, we have supported CACTUS in providing a range of services to more than 36,000 clients annually who access a range of services including counseling initiatives, transgender health services, syringe exchange programs and free, anonymous services to injection drug users and sex workers.
In order to have a chance of preventing the spread of HIV, we need to be able to adapt and change mindsets about personal behavior, especially for those engaging in activities that make them more likely to contract the virus. We are on the front lines of these “behavior-based programs,” which aim to prevent new infections among people engaged in high-risk activities. The programs we fund are often the first of their kind, bringing invaluable new insights into how we can best prevent transmission in the most vulnerable populations.
EMORY UNIVERSITY, USA
With our support, Emory University has developed Testing Together, a couples-focused HIV testing and counseling intervention for gay and bisexual male couples, adapted from a successful model for heterosexual couples. Testing Together and receiving test results together can start an ongoing healthy conversation between an individual and partner about HIV, and help the couple in talking openly about building a protection plan together. Testing Together has conducted an initial rollout in several U.S. cities, primarily aimed at growing the number of counselors trained in MSM counseling skills and increasing testing of MSM couples at grassroots organizations. Staff from more than 50 testing organizations have been trained, and more than 500 people have been tested at the Atlanta and Chicago pilot sites. Emory University launched the website testingtogether.org to provide online resources and information. With MAF’s support, Emory University has been able to transition this model program to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to further disseminate the intervention across the country.
THE D.C. FEMALE CONDOM PROJECT, USA
The D.C. Female Condom Project is a major contributor in the movement to advance the use of the female condom for women and men’s sexual health, and has reduced the number of new cases of HIV and STDs in the District of Columbia. Since 2010, the Project has educated more than 16,000 D.C. residents, trained 545 peer educators and distributed nearly half a million female condoms at more than 350 locations in the city. The project is a successful public-private partnership between the M•A•C AIDS Fund, the Washington AIDS Partnership, the D.C. Department of Health HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) and other corporate and community partners.
Bio-Medical Prevention Efforts
We support biomedical prevention programs, which are medical interventions that prevent new infections among people engaged in high-risk behaviors and those at highest risk of contracting HIV.
CAPRISA, South Africa
CAPRISA conducts globally relevant and locally responsive research that aims to better understand HIV and its implications for HIV and TB care. We are supporting a trial that will assess whether tenofovir gel, one of the most effective and commonly prescribed HIV medications, can be effectively distributed within the context of family planning services in South Africa in order to provide women with increased HIV prevention options.