Research Triangle Park, NC – March 19, 2014 – ViiV Healthcare today issued a new request for letters of interest (LOIs) for the sixth round of its Positive Action Southern Initiative – inviting community organizations in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi to submit an LOI to support programs focused on reducing disparities in HIV/AIDS linkages to care and treatment among at-risk populations in their communities. Based on the tangible results achieved through the program thus far, it has grown in the past four years into a network of nearly 30 organizations. With today’s announcement, that number will again increase, and the Positive Action Southern Initiative will have committed over $2.7M toward funding local projects to improve care and services for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS in this disproportionately-impacted region.

“Supporting local HIV/AIDS organizations that understand the specific issues impacting their communities and can deliver hands-on solutions is an integral component of achieving the goals outlined in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” said Bill Collier, Head of North America, ViiV Healthcare. “With round six of the Initiative, we look forward to welcoming new organizations to the network who can help build on successes achieved through the program and work in collaboration with other network members to meet persistent needs in the Southern United States.”

The Positive Action Southern Initiative is a collaborative, community-focused program that supports existing initiatives responding to the complexity of the HIV/AIDS continuum of care – from linking people living with HIV into care, to enhancing their treatment adherence, and delaying disease progression. Designed to address these gaps in care and treatment, which have been documented through the Gardner Cascade, the Positive Action Southern Initiative reflects the White House National HIV/AIDS Strategy by directing resources to areas and populations that have the greatest need. With particular focus on reducing disparities among African-American and Latino populations, the Positive Action Southern Initiative currently operates in 10 Southern states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Racial and ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, representing 68 percent of all new AIDS diagnoses in 2011, with new infection rates highest among African-American adults and adolescents. [i] These health disparities are particularly prevalent in the Southern U.S. In Alabama, 68 percent of newly diagnosed individuals were African-American in 2012, despite comprising 26 percent of the population in the state.[ii] In Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, more than 70 percent of all new HIV infections impacted African-Americans and young people.[iii], [iv], [v] Through the Positive Action Southern Initiative, selected organizations that work to tackle these disparities and their root causes will be awarded up to $50,000 per year for a provisional commitment over the next two years.

“Over the past four years we’ve seen how the Southern Initiative fosters programs and partnerships that affect meaningful change and successfully address gaps in the HIV/AIDS continuum of care,” said Erik Valera, Program Director, Latinos in the Deep South at the Latino Commission on AIDS. “This program offers a unique opportunity for community-based organizations to expand successful programs, and to collaborate and share effective strategies for addressing unmet needs among the most at-risk and most impacted populations in these communities.”

Southern Initiative Application Process

The latest phase of the program focuses on supporting U.S. minorities, as well as high-risk individuals in linkages to care and adherence. Priority will be given to projects that address critical gaps in services.

The funds are intended to support existing, innovative programs with strategic support of program enhancements, such as but not limited to:

  • Prioritizing closing HIV disparity gaps to address those most impacted by HIV in the community, emphasis may be placed on, but not limited to: racial/ethnic inequities, socio-economic status, youth and/or elderly status, and geographic barriers
  • Adding mental health or substance abuse counselling to an existing, successful program
  • Improving program capacity to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate resources (e.g., a Spanish-speaking staff member and materials) for emerging populations new to the community or program, emphasis may be placed on: non-English speaking populations, youth, and Gay/Bisexual/Same Gender loving men of colour
  • Training staff to focus on issues related to clients who have been incarcerated and funding an ongoing support group for the formerly incarcerated to address linkages to care
  • Training staff in “motivational interviewing” to enhance skills and providing innovative incentives to further motivate high-risk clients to stay adherent

Submitting an Initial Letter of Interest

Interested parties can receive detailed information about the application priorities, process and criteria and can download an application form.

Questions about the process should be directed to Letters of Interest must be received by April 11, 2014, 5 p.m. ET for consideration to the full proposal phase.

All applicants invited to submit full proposals will be considered Network Finalists. Finalists will be invited to be a part of the ViiV Healthcare Positive Action Southern Initiative Network. Some of the Network benefits include networking activities, an online portal and technical assistance – including opportunities to share lessons learned with one another and with community experts. Organizations awarded grants will be notified in September. Programs receiving grant awards will be highlighted on the ViiV Healthcare website and, where possible, learnings and insights gained from the projects will be broadly shared.

About ViiV Healthcare's Positive Action Program

The Southern Initiative is part of ViiV Healthcare’s broader Positive Action program that has empowered community organizations in Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia over the past 22 years. As a company focused solely on HIV/AIDS, ViiV Healthcare is committed to building on the success of the global program with efforts to support projects in the United States that address areas of greatest need.

When Positive Action was created in 1992 it was the first pharmaceutical company program of its kind to support communities affected by HIV and AIDS. The program targets its funds towards community-focused projects that reach those most affected by HIV, particularly in marginalized or vulnerable populations. These include youth, women and girls, sex workers, injection drug users, MSM, the incarcerated, transgender individuals and gay men. Positive Action works to build capacity in these communities to enable them to tackle stigma and discrimination, to test innovations in education, care and treatment, and to deliver greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV.

About ViiV Healthcare

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi joined as a 10 percent shareholder in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit

U.S. Media Inquiries: Marc Meachem (919) 483-8756

[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance by Race/Ethnicity (through 2011). Accessed March 3, 2014 from

[ii] State of Alabama HIV Surveillance 2012 Annual Report. Accessed March 3, 2014 from

[iii] Georgia Department of Public Health. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Fact Sheet. Accessed March 3, 2014 from

[iv] SHARP. Louisiana State Report: An Analysis of the Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities for Improving Healthcare Access. 2010. Accessed March 3, 2014 from

[v] HIV Disease 2012 Fact Sheet. Mississippi State Department of Health. Accessed March 3, 2014 from

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