Press Release: Advocates Receives Grants from Gilead to Build a New Generation of HIV Activists

WASHINGTON, DC – Advocates for Youth has been awarded $150,000 in grants by Gilead Sciences, Inc., to help build the next generation of HIV advocates and to support community-based organizations (CBOs) serving young people directly affected by HIV.

“Young people are determined to end this disease,” said Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “They have a particularly high stake in the fight against HIV and have the right to be at the table when policies and practices that affect their health and well-being are decided. We are thrilled to have Gilead’s support for this work. With their generous contribution, we can strengthen community capacity, nurture a pipeline of diverse young leaders, and build partnerships to end this epidemic.”

Support from Gilead will be used to recruit, train and support a cohort of youth activists from Advocates for Youth’s YouthResource LGBTQ leadership program (YR) and its Young Women of Color Leadership Council (YWOCLC). Staff will work with each youth activist throughout the year to implement action plans mobilizing tens of thousands of their peers to improve sexual health policies and programs in their local communities including programs and policies to improve HIV/AIDS prevention and testing.

In addition, the grants will also help Advocates serve youth-serving professionals in their efforts to implement high-impact HIV/AIDS prevention services. Advocates seeks to translate research into resources and trainings centered on best practices in an effort to build capacity of youth-serving professionals so that they may be able to provide high impact HIV prevention programs and services to adolescents that may be at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS.

“Gilead is proud to support the efforts of Advocates for Youth who are working to combat HIV among young people,” said Gregg Alton, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Medical Affairs, Gilead Sciences. “These youth activists will be vital in advancing education and expanding access to HIV testing, treatment and care for people ages 13 to 24 years old, who are at higher risk of getting HIV.” Advocates will build the capacity of 400 CBOs serving high-risk populations to instill preventive health and healthy sexual behavior among adolescents, increase condom use among sexually active participants, increase HIV testing among adolescents, and increase linkage and retention of HIV positive adolescents into existing systems of care. And through these grants, Advocates will improve services at select CBOs in the South to serve youth at-risk for HIV/AIDS and/or HIV positive adolescents more effectively through the implementation of improved policies and programs.

Young people are at a higher risk of HIV due to factors including lack of information, and access to health care. Among young people living with HIV, fewer than half have been diagnosed. Only 13% are receiving enough medication so that the virus is suppressed – the lowest percentage among any age group. Young people need access to widespread and normalized HIV testing. To receive testing and treatment, they need linkages to medical care, so they can get the care and medication they need to suppress the HIV virus. On a societal level, there needs to be an end to HIV stigma that keeps young people from seeking testing and treatment.


Advocates for Youth is a national non-profit that advocates for policies and champions programs that recognize young people’s rights to: honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth. Advocates’ Youth Activist Network stands 75,000 strong on 1,000 campuses and in tens of thousands of communities.

For Immediate Release  August 11, 2015

Rachel Cooke