Frontline AIDS has launched an emergency fundraising appeal in response to an increase in COVID-19 related applications to its Rapid Response Fund for LGBT people in Africa and the Caribbean. People can donate to the fund at www.frontlineaids.org/donate.

The charity’s Rapid Response Fund was established in 2016 to help with urgent situations where LGBT people struggle to access HIV services because of stigma, discrimination and the threat of violence. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the fund has seen an increase in requests for support from:

  • Organisations supporting the LGBT community that are struggling to deliver urgent health services due to lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions.
  • LGBT people disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, for whom COVID-19 restrictions have created an additional obstacle to accessing the treatment they need to stay well.
  • LGBT shelters and safehouses targeted by the police and state, resulting in LGBT people being arrested and their human rights abused.

Christine Stegling, Executive Director at Frontline AIDS said: “Like HIV and AIDS, COVID-19 has a greater impact on people who are already marginalised. In many countries, LGBT people are facing a double threat; the pandemic itself and an increase in discrimination and attacks by the authorities.

“With the need growing, we want to make sure the Rapid Response Fund can keep pace. We’ve launched an urgent appeal for donations to try and increase the support the fund can offer.”

In many countries in Africa and the Caribbean, LGBT people experience higher rates of HIV infection and poorer access to HIV services because of stigma and discrimination. The Rapid Response Fund provides grants of up to $7,000 to support LGBT people whose situations are making it difficult for them to access HIV services.

Support for LGBT Kenyans

In April, the Rapid Response Fund enabled a clinic in Nairobi, Kenya’s most populous city, to continue reaching its most vulnerable users despite the challenges of the country’s tough lockdown restrictions. 

Thanks to the fund, the clinic now has a motorcycle, a driver and the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to provide HIV testing and treatment in people’s homes. This lifeline will ensure the clinic can continue its vital work throughout and beyond the current crisis.

 

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