Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Marks World AIDS Day by Awarding $1.47 Million in New Grants to Strengthen HIV-Related Services in Five Sub-Saharan Countries

Grants from landmark Secure the Future initiative target adolescents, the elderly and HIV patients with female cancers or tuberculosis in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho

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Monday, December 1, 2014 9:00 am EST

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NEW YORK

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BMY

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation today marked World AIDS Day by announcing 12 new grants totaling $1.47 million that focus on strengthening community-based services in sub-Saharan Africa for adolescents and the elderly who are living with HIV and for HIV patients with comorbid female cancers or tuberculosis.

The grants awarded through the Foundation’s landmark Secure the Future initiative, which this year celebrates its 15th anniversary of providing community-based care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS, will support projects in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. Since its inception, Secure the Future has committed more than $180 million to more than 250 projects throughout the region.

“As the global community celebrates World AIDS Day and focuses on achieving an AIDS-free generation, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation continues to work with its many partners to make that goal a reality,” says John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “Together, we are addressing the unique health care needs of people living with HIV in southern and east Africa by collaborating with nonprofit organizations in the region that share our vision of expanding access to high-quality community-based care and supportive services.”

Adolescents and youth living with HIV often face social stigma and discrimination, which can hinder their ability to seek HIV support services and prevent them from pursuing life skills support, including entrepreneurship and leadership skills development. For the elderly living with HIV, the risk of developing other illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and cancer, and the threat of drug interactions, is high. Both adolescents and the elderly living in rural areas are faced with additional challenges, including access to health care and treatment.

A project funded through a grant to Young Positive Generation of Lesotho will empower youth living with HIV to take ownership of their health and their livelihood by enhancing their skills through training in business management, psychosocial support, governance and leadership and cancer awareness.

Other grants awarded for care and support for adolescents living with HIV or those young people most vulnerable to HIV will be implemented by Youth Advocates Zimbabwe and SAYWHAT in Zimbabwe, by Super Buddies in Swaziland, and by Salesian Life Choices in South Africa.

The National University of Lesotho School of Pharmacy Faculty will integrate pharmacists into interdisciplinary health care teams in rural communities targeting elderly patients living with HIV. These teams will provide comprehensive education through medication counseling regarding drug interactions and proper handling and storage methods, home visits and facilitating group discussions.

Cervical and breast cancers are leading causes of cancer death in women in sub-Saharan Africa. Cervical cancer rates among women living with HIV are three times higher globally than in the non-HIV population. The higher prevalence is due to co-infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer as well as other gynecological infections. Between 60 percent and 80 percent of women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HPV.

A grant to Swaziland Breast & Cervical Cancer Network, which made history in 2013 by launching cervical cancer screening services in a rural community through funding from the Foundation, will partner with the Ministry of Health and other collaborators to develop national breast and cervical cancer awareness and clinical programs. A Rural Health Motivator training guide will be created to ensure that ongoing best practices are implemented throughout communities.

A grant to Right to Care Project will fund a program that will serve as a focal point for training physicians and nurses in Ethiopia, Swaziland and South Africa and improve capacity for cervical and breast cancer screening in HIV-positive patients. The project will expand cancer screening services currently provided in the three countries.

Since its inception in 1999, Secure the Future also has addressed the needs of patients with TB as part of its HIV mandate. More recently, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has been collaborating with the World Health Organization to expand its ENGAGE-TB program in sub-Saharan Africa by strengthening community-based efforts in the fight against TB.

The ISIBANI Development Project in South Africa will work with organizations in four districts in the country that need assistance in implementing the ENGAGE-TB approach in their communities. ISIBANI will build the capacity of civic organizations’ ability to provide integrated HIV/TB services, care and treatment and transfer support, monitoring and financial/program management skills to other community organizations.

Other grants focusing on integrating HIV and TB will be implemented by Lengo Health Program and Shikaadabu Bamako in Kenya, and by Thabo Mwale TB Foundation in South Africa.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

The mission of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is to help reduce health disparities by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease.

For more information about the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, please visit www.bms.com/foundation or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bmsnews.

Contact:

Media:
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
Frederick J. Egenolf, 609-252-4875
frederick.egenolf@bms.com

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