Gilead Sciences, Inc. and the Elton John AIDS Foundation announced the launch of the ground-breaking RADIAN initiative at the Fast-Track Cities 2019 conference in London. RADIAN seeks to meaningfully address new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). RADIAN builds on the existing collaboration between the Foundation and Gilead in the EECA Key Populations (EECAKP) fund, leveraging both organizations’ greater understanding of the region’s needs to drive forward bold and meaningful action to address specific challenges.
“Every day, more than 400 people in EECA become infected with HIV and 100 die from AIDS,”
said Sir Elton John, Founder, Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“My Foundation’s work in establishing the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Key Populations (EECAKP) fund with Gilead and others a couple of years ago forcefully underscored for us the need to drastically expand our efforts in the region. So, I’m delighted that the Foundation is once again working with Gilead through RADIAN to provide much-needed support and funding to reverse trends and reach some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Together, we can create change, save lives and ensure no one is left behind in the fight to end the epidemic.”
Addressing the epidemic in EECA is imperative to the global effort to eliminate HIV/AIDS. According to UNAIDS, while rates of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses are now decreasing globally, EECA is one of the few regions where HIV is on the rise and deaths from AIDS have increased by approximately 300 percent in the last 20 years.
“Gilead and the Foundation share a vision to end the HIV epidemic. Through RADIAN, we aim to reach marginalized populations in the EECA region and work with local organizations to address some of the challenges they face,”
said Daniel O’Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gilead Sciences.
“RADIAN will help to provide the funding and support for the HIV response that have historically been lacking in the region. There are more than one million people living with HIV in EECA who need access to appropriate care. This needs to be urgently addressed through education, community empowerment and novel partnerships such as this.”
The RADIAN initiative is comprised of two key elements, the RADIAN “Model Cities” program and the RADIAN “Unmet Need” fund. By adapting a dual-track program, RADIAN can direct resources to communities in need that are immediately ready to scale interventions through targeted funding, while simultaneously building capacity in others. HIV has high prevalence in communities that often face stigma and have limited access to care. By partnering with local organizations, RADIAN will leverage on-the-ground insights and share the best practices that are needed to make meaningful progress.
The first RADIAN Model City will be Almaty, Kazakhstan. Almaty faces a disproportionately heavy burden of HIV. There are approximately 7,400 people living with HIV in Almaty, and the city has an HIV prevalence that is almost twice the national average. RADIAN will support Almaty in achieving improved HIV outcomes by addressing stigma, strengthening healthcare infrastructure and care models and increasing access to innovation. Additional Model Cities will be announced in 2020.
“We are happy that Kazakhstan will be part of the RADIAN initiative,”
said Dr. Bauyrzhan Baiserkin, Director of the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases, based in Almaty.
“We have ambitions to reach those that live with or are at risk of HIV to ensure as many of them as possible can get tested and treated so they can live healthy lives. We welcome this support and commitment from the RADIAN initiative to help Kazakhstan continue our progress and ultimately achieve our targets.”
In order to support the rest of the EECA region beyond the selected Model Cities, RADIAN will also implement the Unmet Need fund, to support impactful initiatives in other parts of EECA. Grants will be available for local and regional organizations in EECA who share RADIAN’s vision to address new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses. The Request for Proposals will open in mid-October 2019.
Across both elements, RADIAN aims to contribute measurable changes in HIV incidence, linkage to care and treatment coverage and prevention, to meaningfully address new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in EECA. Best practices and learnings from the local implementation of RADIAN over the next five years will be used as a blueprint toward helping change the trajectory of HIV across the region.