Today, Comic Relief is announcing a new HIV, Diversity and Dignity funding initiative, to address the needs of marginalised population groups who are disproportionately affected by HIV. According to the World Health Organisation, this includes: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons, sex workers and transgender people.

It is reported that worldwide, 40-50% of all HIV infections among adults aged 15-49 occur among these groups. Despite these very high rates of HIV, marginalisation and exclusion means that many living with HIV are unable to access care and support services. Although HIV treatment is now widely available, fear of stigma and discrimination stops many from having a HIV test or from seeking treatment. Sexual violence also increases vulnerability to HIV and these groups are particularly at risk.

Comic Relief’s resources will be focused on addressing the needs of these population groups, also referred to as ‘Key Populations’, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comic Relief funding will not support direct service delivery, but will be used to strengthen referral pathways to a comprehensive range of services including but not limited to: prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and counselling, antiretroviral treatment and treatment adherence. Read more…