ViiV Healthcare Targets HIV-Positive Youths With $1 Million Grant

Funding will be spread throughout several mentorship programs for youths with HIV to help navigate adult care.

ViiV Healthcare will award 6 grants totaling $1 million to its Positive Action for Youth program, which aims to improve the lives of youth aged 13 to 24 years living with HIV.

The fight to eliminate HIV continues to build momentum, but new research from the CDC indicates HIV-positive American youth have gaps in care due to a lack of knowledge and skills for navigating the HIV care continuum, according to a press release.

An estimated one-third of youth do not seek care within 1 month of HIV diagnosis, which is the lowest for any age group, according to the report.

“Youth remain disproportionately impacted by HIV and that needs to change,” Justin Rush, JD, directory of public policy of the True Colors Fund and external review committee member of the Positive Action for Youth, said in a release. “I’m confident that the grantees selected through Positive Action for Youth will address unmet needs that will have sustainable impact in the lives of youth living with HIV and their communities.”

Each of the organizations will receive up to $100,000 per year for a provisional commitment over the next 2 years.

Five organizations receiving funding through the Positive Action for Youth Program are developing or expanding existing mentorship programs that support youth with HIV to successfully enter adult care, according to the release.

The sixth organization will lead the design and facilitation of a toolkit and guide regarding best practices for youth mentorship.

The following organizations are the direct mentorship grantees:

1. Abounding Prosperity in Dallas, Texas

Funding will support the pilot one-on-one mentoring Project BEST/TEST for young men who have sex with men and male-to-female transgender youth of color aged 14 to 24 years who are HIV-positive.

2. AIDS Alabama in Birmingham, AL

Supports the pilot mentoring project, Living Out Loud, for youth aged 13 to 24 years who are HIV-positive. Mentors will provide support in medical adherence, financial planning skills, self-advocacy, and job or colleges readiness. Support will also target increasing access to transportation, mental health services, and housing assistance.

3. Center on Halsted in Chicago, Illinois

Funding supports three 6-week pilot drop-in sessions for youth living with HIV aged 13 to 24 years. Positive Directions aims to train youth health promoters to develop and manage drop-in sessions, with the goal of helping youth develop self-management skills needed to stay in long-term adult care.

4. National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities in Atlanta, Georgia

The grant will support the existing one-on-one mentoring project, nSPIRE, for African American MSM aged 16 to 24 years who are HIV-positive.

5. RAIN, Inc in Charlotte, North Carolina

Funds will support the expansion and enhancement of Empowering Positive Youth, a 3-tiered mentoring project targeting youth aged 13 to 24 years with HIV. Peer navigators will mentor youth navigators in development skills, who will then mentor a small group of youth leaders to better serve HIV-positive youth to enter and engage in care.

The following organization is the design lead grantee:

1. Advocates for Youth in Washington, DC

The funds will help build and disseminate a toolkit and guide to address topics surrounding the shift to adult are for youths with HIV. The toolkit and guide is a collaborative effort with Direct Mentorship Services. Potential topics are social determinants of health, unique issues and concerns of the youth experience, meaningful youth-adult partnerships, and youth-centric models.

Positive Action was created in 1992 as the first pharmaceutical company program designed to support communities living with HIV/AIDS, according to the release.