Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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HIV-vulnerable groups struggle to access funds says new report

1
MAY
2009

Aids Alliance

Vulnerable groups at the centre of the AIDS epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean find it hard to access money from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria a new report commissioned by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance reveals.

Only 4% of the $170 million grants that were analysed in the report actually directly reached organisations run by groups most vulnerable to HIV such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers as well as people living with HIV.

The research showed that organisations of women living with HIV and sex worker groups have the most difficulty accessing resources. Transgender groups have not received any direct funding despite HIV prevalence rates as high as 45% in some countries.

Anamaria Bejar who commissioned the report for the Alliance said, “The Alliance’s experience shows that these population groups must play a central role in the response to HIV, not just as beneficiaries of programmes but as the decision-makers and implementers of strategies and funds targeting their own communities.

“Those who decide on the destination of the funds tend not to trust in the management capacity of grassroots organisations and investment in building their capacity to manage grants and programmes themselves is still insufficient.”

The research shows that these groups face many barriers and that there is still not enough representation of marginalised groups on the Global Fund’s country coordinating mechanisms.

The reasons cited include:

  • low capacity among these groups to develop funding proposals;
  • difficulty accessing and understanding Global Fund related information;
  • low participation in related decision-making fora including the country-coordinating mechanism;
  • lack of relevant and up-to-date epidemiological data especially among sex workers and transgenders.

Stigma and discrimination underlie all these barriers, particularly in countries where sex work and homosexuality are illegal, as in many of the Caribbean countries.

Elena Reynaga, coordinator of the LAC Regional Sex Worker Network said, “We are an organisation made up of sex workers, our expertise lies in working with our peers, it does not lie in filling out complex forms for funding. We need people to help us translate our needs, ideas and goals into a format understood by donors like the Global Fund.”

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance believes that to achieve long-term sustainability to eventually beat the epidemic it is vital to develop community capacity in HIV prevention, care and support and works closely with grassroots organisations to build their organisational capacity.

Download the report in English or en Español.