Meet the 2023 iFORWARD grantees working to end the HIV epidemic

We’re pleased to announce our newest cohort of grantees under iFORWARD: Equipping Organizations in the South through Technology to End the HIV Epidemic, who are implementing creative uses of technology to end the HIV epidemic in the South.

With funding from Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson totaling awards of $10,000, organizations were selected from community-based organizations, racial and social justice organizations, AIDS service organizations, Federally Qualified Health Centers, HBCUS/minority-serving institutes and/or networks of people living with HIV across the South.

FORWARD recognizes the barriers that Southern organizations face in accessing appropriate technology to carry out their services and achieve their mission. This initiative aims to reduce these disparities by directing funds to and building the capacity of grassroots organizations in the South to:

  • Improve community access to health information.
  • Enhance organizational communication systems.
  • Help to maintain a sense of client social and emotional support.
  • Establish and maintain a virtual community.
  • Extend organizations’ geographical reach.
  • Reduce HIV-related stigma.

Meet our grantee partners and hear from them in their own words about their projects through iFORWARD.

Game Changing Men
Newman, Georgia

This funding will help expand Game Changing Men’s virtual options, content development and social media support for our Real Talk with Men programs and overall organizational reach with Media. The Real Talk programs include Real Talk with Men, a support group for trans men and transmasculine people. We provide therapeutic healing and bonding sessions that include weekly educational, outdoor and physical fitness classes. We address and identify the historical gender norms that create barriers and show up in everyday life. Real Talk T-Health is educational advocacy for health access and inclusion for trans AFAB, HIV testing and linkage to health care services. Real Talk on the Road: Sex, Stigma, and Sexuality is an initiative that addresses HIV stigma and creates access to resources in the Southeast for trans men. Game Changing T-Camp is our healthy living campaign for trans men and trans masc folks.

Gretna Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.
New Orleans, Louisiana

The Achieving New Heights: A Komprehensive Approach to Kombating HIV project aims to tackle the HIV epidemic, which has had a disproportionate impact on African American communities. The Gretna Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. has devised a multifaceted strategy to address this issue effectively. Firstly, we plan to produce a compelling short film that sheds light on the urgent need for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to engage in the fight against HIV actively. This film will serve as a powerful tool to raise awareness and garner support for our cause.

H.Y.P.E. to Empower, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

The Digital Advocacy Experience Project: DAEP is an HIV advocacy, stigma reduction, and digital campaign. HYPE has successfully reduced stigma at a local level through its EMULATE program, where participants learned about opportunities for individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. Through interactive training, the program was divided into four primary areas of learning: stigma reduction, health literacy, workforce development and advocacy. HYPE plans to expand its reach through DAEP to a national audience, centering its campaign in three areas or “pillars.” First, there are three behavior change models: the social-ecological model of health, the health belief model and the transtheoretical model of behavior change theory. And subsequently, we will focus on increased education and stigma reduction and visibility surrounding HIV. This will ensure that measuring processes/assessments are rooted in health communication and health literacy.

Momentum Health Development
Washington, D.C.

Momentum Health is an innovative community health lab focused on eliminating health disparities in HIV, Hunger, and Homelessness for all youth of color. Leveraging revolutionary technology with advanced health research, Momentum Health is dedicated to improving HIV adherence outcomes in poverty resilient communities by 2030, through world class digital health care. It is the collective vision of the leadership at Momentum Health that access to affordable and equitable healthcare technology will advance the plight against HIV, Hunger, and Homelessness, so no one is left behind. At Momentum Health, we will lead the Momentum for a brighter tomorrow.

Partnership to End AIDS Status, Inc.
Memphis, Tennessee

PEAS, Inc has suffered tremendously in providing those who depend on us with quality and confidential counseling, testing and a safe haven. Because of our governor’s decision to cease funding for HIV surveillance in Tennessee for at-risk populations, we weren’t able to continue to afford our brick and mortar. This decision has dampened our mission as we try to serve our community without our brick and mortar, which provided by state law has to be site approved for syringe exchange boundaries. Now our clients have to seek other means of obtaining sterile supplies at will to other organizations who may not offer vulnerable hours, as we do with PEAS being nontraditional and offer services 24-hours. We are exposed and saddened that right now we can’t provide our unique services to our clients in comfort and hope that this funding will assist us in getting back on our feet to find affordable spaces so we may go uninterrupted with servings those in need.

The Women’s Collective
Washington, D.C.

TWC aims to enhance its virtual community and technological capabilities to educate women of color (cis and transgender) about PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV prevention. Our focus is on Black women in the Washington, D.C. region, including parts of Maryland and Virginia. We also plan to address COVID vaccine hesitancy among women of color living with HIV in the D.C. region. A digital PrEP education campaign will be a powerful tool to increase awareness and uptake of PrEP. Our goal is to develop a clear and concise message tailored to women of color that highlights the benefits of PrEP and addresses common misconceptions or concerns.

TSU SHAPE Initiative
Houston, Texas

TSI is requesting funds to establish a digital advocacy campaign. This campaign is intended to raise awareness of HIV among ethnic minorities and other select populations, enhance health information and literacy, support prevention and reduce stigma. The campaign is specifically focused on providing culturally competent and affirming content that supports those living with HIV, allies, and those of elevated risk as based on a status-neutral framework.