Photos: RADIAN 2021

The Elton John AIDS Foundation and Gilead Sciences have announced a new campaign highlighting the stories of people living with HIV.

The two are working together through their RADIAN partnership to showcase how campaigners are leading the charge to end AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).

According to AIDSinfo, almost 1.6 million people are living with the virus in EECA despite the tools available to prevent new infections.

It is one of the world’s few regions where the HIV infection rate is still on the rise, making the work of the RADIAN Changemakers all the more important.

The newest campaign features stories from a diverse range of people living with HIV throughout EECA.

The bios for the first four Changemakers are as follows:

  • Tony, a non-binary activist from Georgia, works to give local transgender people a greater voice in the HIV response.
  • Lyubov, a woman living with HIV from Kazakhstan, provides anti-stigma and discrimination training to staff in healthcare institutions and shelter homes for homeless women.
  • Vera, a woman living with HIV from Russia, leads a local organisation that provides community-based services for people affected by HIV, including people who use drugs and people released from prison.
  • Svyatoslav, from Kazakhstan, leads a local organisation focusing on ending the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men in the country’s largest city.

Alex Kalomparis, Vice President of Gilead Sciences, said: “To leave no one behind in the global efforts to end HIV and AIDS, the RADIAN Changemakers campaign emphasises our commitment to going where the need is greatest, and supporting the people most affected by HIV. We are excited to share the remarkable stories of these people who are the leaders in ending this epidemic.”

The Elton John AIDS Foundation and Gilead Sciences first launched the RADIAN partnership in 2019 to address the challenges in EECA and fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“RADIAN aims to meaningfully address new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in EECA through focused action, investment and resourcing to improve the quality of prevention and care for people living with or at risk of HIV in the region,” the official website states.

David Furnish, Chairman of the Board at Elton John AIDS Foundation, said “It’s critical that we, the global HIV community, continue to shine a light on the epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but also that we recognise ending AIDS in the region is an achievable goal.

“We are proud and excited to be able to recognise the remarkable work being delivered by the RADIAN Changemakers and hope that sharing their stories will inspire us all to continue to work for change in the region.”