Each year we work through regional peer-review processes to determine which community-based organisations we will fund. We bring together 10 to 12 experts from each region, most from community-based organisations themselves, who sit on the panel and make recommendations on projects to be supported. The collaboration with Positive Action has allowed amfAR to invest in many innovative programmes; let me show you some of them:
In Southern Bangladesh last year we supported a project helping a community set up a small health clinic and gay community centre for about 200 to 250 gay men, other MSM and transgender individuals. The initial $20,000 investment meant they were able to run the office, clinic and a community centre for a whole year. The programme has provided a safe place where MSM can be themselves, as well as access services and support.
In Chiang Mai, Thailand we have been supporting a project which is researching and delivering online peer education and support for gay men, other MSM and transgender individuals. The project is evidence-based and shows that the best way to reach MSM is through websites that they already visit frequently. These websites could be related to searching for sex, searching for a boyfriend or searching for information.
We have just finished supporting a research study investigating the benefits of street-based HIV testing. The programme involved pre-test counselling sessions and the use of video messages to encourage young men to come to mobile testing units to get screened.
In Ranong, Southern Thailand we are supporting a project that is just getting off the ground. It is working with migrant MSM, a growing concern for the Thai Ministry of Health. The project has been a success, and after the initial year is over, there is already talk of scaling up the project in other parts of the town.