Elton John AIDS Foundation is largest funder of LGBTQ programs for black AmericansAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Friday, March 14th, 2014
NEW YORK — The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has been identified by Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the largest funder of programs for black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer individuals.
“We are immensely proud to be recognized by Funders for LGBTQ Issues for our work focused on the needs of black LGBTQ communities,” said EJAF founder Sir Elton John. “At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we see the fight for equality for black Americans and LGBTQ people and the effort to achieve a world without AIDS as one and the same, because racism and homophobia are major drivers of the epidemic.”
Black Americans represent only 13% of the population, but account for 46% of people living with HIV in the United States. A new Emory University study presented just last week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections highlighted the urgency of the need for action: in Atlanta, a sample of young Black gay men was shown to have an annual HIV infection rate of 12%, meaning that a young Black gay man becoming sexually active at the age of 18 has a 60% chance of being HIV positive by the age of 30. Furthermore, the study indicated that these shocking statistics are driven in part by lack of healthcare and high rates of incarceration and unemployment.
“At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we are committed to reversing the tide of HIV infection in the black LGBTQ community,” said chairman David Furnish. “That is why we awarded more than $1.3 million for programs focused on this disproportionately affected community during 2011-2012 and will continue our work until everyone has access to the prevention methods, care, and treatment they need.”
As stated in the Funders for LGBTQ Issues announcement, according to the Williams Institute, there are approximately 1 million “out” LGBT black American adults living in the U.S. Based on this statistic, the annual LGBT grant dollars awarded per black American LGBT adult is $2.90, less than half the national average of $5.78 for LGBT adults in general.
In a statement EJAF said, “At EJAF, we share a vision of a future without AIDS and a sense of outrage about the unnecessarily slow pace of progress against this epidemic and the continuing denial of basic human rights to the people most affected by this disease. As long as black Americans and LGBTQ people are denied equal rights and access to quality health and social services, EJAF will continue to fund programs dedicated to securing the health and human rights of black and LGBTQ individuals. And the Foundation will continue to speak out on behalf of at-risk populations, urging leaders everywhere to join us in achieving an AIDS-free world.”
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