Elton John AIDS Foundation selects Frontline AIDS to partner on COVID-19 Emergency Fund

A transgender woman from Blantyre, Malawi © Gemma Taylor for Frontline AIDS
Kaluso, a transgender woman from Blantyre, Malawi was supported by CHeRA, a recipient of the Rapid Response Fund.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation (’The Foundation’) has chosen Frontline AIDS to partner on its emergency fund for people living with and affected by HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched in April, the Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund was set up to sustain HIV prevention and care for the most marginalised communities during the pandemic. To date, the fund has supported 43 organisations to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the HIV response. Through this new partnership, the Foundation will continue to draw on Frontline AIDS’ experience of emergency grant-making and strong links with marginalised communities to ensure emergency funding reaches even more of those in the greatest need.

Frontline AIDS – the world’s largest partnership of organisations working in HIV and AIDS – will manage a programme of emergency grants to organisations working with some of the world’s marginalised groups, including gay and bisexual men, transgender people, people who use drugs, and sex workers. The fund will significantly expand Frontline AIDS’ existing Rapid Response Fund (pioneered under a previous partnership between the Foundation and Frontline AIDS) to become the mechanism for providing the Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund’s grants in 47 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

In many countries, the COVID-19 crisis is increasing inequalities, discrimination and criminalisation of marginalised groups and the organisations that serve them. These groups have been made more vulnerable to police abuse, arbitrary arrest and detention as a result of restrictions on movement, while many organisations are also reporting increases in intimate partner violence and physical and emotional abuse during lockdowns.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place pressure on the supply of vital HIV treatment and prevention services in many countries, deepening the crisis for thousands of vulnerable people living with and affected by HIV. Recent modelling by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization warned that a six-month disruption of HIV treatment could lead to an additional 500,000 AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa by 2021.

Through the Foundation’s partnership with Frontline AIDS, organisations will be able to apply for Emergency Grants or Catalytic Grants.

  • Emergency Grants provide essential support for community organisations and the people they serve, including the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), continued access to harm reduction services, and access to food and shelter.
  • Catalytic Grants will focus on finding innovative ways to expand access to local HIV services during and following the crisis, such as moving services online or beginning remote distribution of medication and HIV prevention supplies.

Anne Aslett, CEO of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, said:

‘We can’t let the COVID-19 crisis jeopardise the strides that we have made towards ending the AIDS epidemic. The Elton John AIDS Foundation is committed to sustaining HIV care and support for the most vulnerable, especially during COVID-19 service disruptions. We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Frontline AIDS using nimble and responsive mechanisms developed with Frontline AIDS in our LGBT Fund partnership. These will deliver the next phase of our emergency fund to ensure we mitigate against the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on HIV prevention and care and learn new ways of supporting those most vulnerable at this critical time.’

Christine Stegling, Executive Director at Frontline AIDS, said:

“The global response to COVID-19 is not playing out on a level playing field. The most marginalised are bearing the brunt of the crisis, with the potential for unprecedented human rights violations, violence and discrimination. Frontline AIDS has worked closely with the Elton John AIDS Foundation for many years and we look forward to this continued collaboration to ensure the global response to COVID-19 leaves no one behind.”

For more information, or to apply for an emergency grant, visit our page on the Rapid Response Fund.


COVID-19 Emergency FundElton John AIDS Foundation