National Transgender HIV Testing Day: Meet TLI Grantee The Aliveness Project

April 18 marks National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD), a day recognizing the need for routine HIV testing and continued access to HIV prevention and treatment services for transgender and nonbinary people. During this year’s NTHTD, we spoke with 2022-2023 Transgender Leadership Initiative grantee and Public Policy Council member, The Aliveness Project about their work supporting transgender and nonbinary individuals accessing HIV services: 

“The mission of The Aliveness Project is to boldly advance equitable access to transformative HIV care and prevention services. Our vision is to end the HIV epidemic. We work towards this mission by ensuring high-risk communities have access to:  

  • Basic needs: We provide daily meals and a food shelf, while our Case Management team helps provide access to healthcare and housing. 
  • Community: Our community center model provides a safe and supportive place for members to gather and build community. Anyone living with HIV can become a member, and members can access all our services for free. 
  • Prevention: We provide targeted outreach to communities disproportionately affected by HIV through testing, syringe access services, our mobile syringe exchange van, and distribution of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) through our free on-site PrEP clinic ( 


With the tools and resources that the initiative gave us, we were able to provide transgender and nonbinary specific resources to the communities we serve. These resources included name change clinics, self-defense awareness, HIV testing and connection to PrEP, gender affirming discussions and gender affirming clothing. We were able to build community by creating a peer support group named “Teatime” and we also implemented TWIST (Transgender Women Involved In Strategies for Transformation) intervention two times a year. At The Aliveness Project, we will be opening an in-house specialty pharmacy, which will allow us to provide HIV medication and connection to PrEP for communities that have barriers to access these resources.

The Aliveness Project serves as a great model in making HIV services accessible to transgender and nonbinary individuals and NTHTD reminds us that testing is the first vital step to ensure equitable access to HIV prevention and treatment services. Making testing routine and readily available can help ensure affected populations, such as transgender women of color, are able to access resources they need to live healthy and fruitful lives. 

Finding information about testing can seem like an overwhelming task, especially when other aspects of our lives might take priority in the moment, such as securing basic needs or finding a trans-affirming healthcare provider. Below is a list of resources that trans community members can keep handy: 

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign includes a host of resources, including explanations about who should get tested, what types of tests are available, and what your results mean — especially as HIV is no longer the death sentence it used to be. 
  • The Together TakeMeHome program provides free, at-home HIV self-testing kits to individuals living in the United States and Puerto Rico.  
  • The Center for Excellence for Transgender Health at UCSF has created a Transgender HIV Testing Toolkit that provides best practices for offering HIV testing programs and services for transgender and nonbinary people.  

Ending the HIV epidemic cannot be accomplished without the elimination of HIV-related health disparities, stigmas and discriminations affecting transgender and nonbinary people. We must ensure HIV testing and service organizations are culturally competent and aware of the existing barriers that prevent transgender and nonbinary individuals from seeking care. The Transgender HIV Testing Toolkit includes many recommendations for increasing access and trans cultural competency in service programs.  

Here at AIDS United, we continue to uplift the work of organizations that serve transgender people of color through our Transgender Leadership Initiative. The initiative launched in 2017 and has continued supporting organizations dedicated to ending the HIV epidemic, with a focus in supporting the work of transgender and gender-nonconforming leaders. Applications remain open until May 3, 2024, 5PM ET. Find more information about the program here.