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Howard University Awarded Nearly $1 Million for HIV Prevention Among Black Cisgender and Transgender Women

Promising Futures community group in DC

WASHINGTON – The Department of Pediatrics and Child Health in the Howard University College of Medicine has been awarded close to $1 million in grant funding from a new Gilead Sciences Inc. initiative dedicated to improving the HIV landscape for Black women and girls.  

Gilead Sciences announced awards this week totaling $12.6 million in grant funding to Howard University and 18 other organizations. These grants are a part of Gilead’s new Setting the P.A.C.E. (Prevention, Arts and Advocacy, Community, Education) initiative, a three-year commitment toward increasing HIV prevention, anti-stigma, and health equity efforts among Black cisgender and transgender women — a group disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic.  

“As the number of new HIV infections has decreased, education and prevention efforts have stumbled,” said Sohail Rana, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine and director of the annual International Conference on Stigma. “The Gilead funding will allow us to create arts-based and other educational programs that will focus on HIV prevention in Black women, a population that carries a disproportionate burden of HIV but are often ignored in educational campaigns.”  

The Howard team is led by Rana and Patricia Houston, M.S., of the Department of Pediatrics, and includes Tia C. M. Tyree, professor in the Department of Communication Studies. The team will work collaboration with the national nonprofit HealthHIV

The innovative aspect of the Howard initiative will be its focus on engagement through the arts. It will include podcasts, blogs, fashion shows, and art workshops designed for Black cisgender and transgender women. One of the main projects will engage up to 20 college-aged peer educators at Howard University who will be trained to use performing arts engagement during the International Conference on Stigma, and in other community-based projects. The 15th Annual International Conference on Stigma will take place on November 19-22, 2024 at Howard University.

In 2021, Black women accounted for 54 percent of new HIV diagnoses among women aged 16 and older in the United States, despite comprising only 14 percent of the women living in the country. Additionally, Black transgender women have the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses among transgender people. They are more likely to go undiagnosed and untreated in comparison to their peers. These inequities are exacerbated by significant gaps in the delivery of effective and culturally relevant HIV prevention information and care services for Black women and girls. 

“By taking a strategic, community-centered approach to address systemic disparities and improve overall health outcomes, Gilead continues its commitment to advancing health equity for Black cisgender and transgender women and girls in the U.S. who continue to be disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic,” said Deborah H. Telman, executive vice president, corporate affairs and general counsel, Gilead Sciences. “Gilead’s Setting the P.A.C.E. initiative will help empower organizations to expand custom programs tailored toward fighting stigma and expanding access to HIV care in their communities.”  

Photo: Promising Futures performers at the Howard University International Stigma Conference.


About Howard University 

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university comprising 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced three Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu

Media contact: Sholnn Freeman; sholnn.freeman@howard.edu


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