“We knew from other epidemics like Ebola and SARS that pandemics are always accompanied by an increase in other infectious diseases,” says Anne Aslett YFJA’s Director General worldwide, adding that the 14 million people living with HIV are already at risk due to a weakened immune system, distrust of health care and other factors. As one of the world’s leading independent AIDS organizations, EJAF currently administers grants for HIV prevention and care in 55 countries, funding frontline partners working to prevent infection, eliminate stigma and treat people living with the disease worldwide. To date, JAF has funded 43 organizations with emergency funds: nine based in Eastern Europe and 34 in Africa, sub-Saharan Asia and the United States. The selected organizations offer a range of services from soap, masks and gloves to virtual appointments and counselling, home testing and treatment. Each organization offers “very affordable, convenient and instant solutions,” says Anslett, citing organizations such as the Russian-based Phoenix Plus self-testing service, the HIV AIDS Alliance’s home support network in India and the U.S.-based Vermont Cares mobile service. Despite its very global presence, Aslett said the foundation’s efforts continue to “make the world smaller for infected and vulnerable populations. Aslett described the early days of the AIDS epidemic as a “period of absolute terror,” as the foundation was limited by the still incomplete understanding of the disease and its spread. EJAF will announce a new round of emergency funding for COVID 19 at the end of June, followed by a presentation at the International AIDS Conference, which will take place virtually July 6-10. In the United States, most of their work focuses on the Southeast, w African-American gay and bisexual men have a “50 to 60 percent lifetime chance” of becoming infected with HIV, a statistic that Aslett said is much higher than in many of the sub-Saharan African countries they work with. As Aslett addresses the Americas and the Caribbean in her new high-profile role as global director-general, she finds that t are still glaring discrepancies in global data on vulnerable populations. Spending energy and resources to support and care for those infected will help curb the epidemic. “We could do little more than ease the pain and make life more bearable for people,” he adds. “It’s human nature to seek out people who accept you, especially when you feel they are really threatened.
Subscription to our newsletter open soon.