HIV is a Racial Justice Issue

Funders Concerned About AIDS
4 min readNov 30, 2021

“HIV is a racial justice issue. Period. Black and Brown behavior is no different than anyone else’s, but they are still the most impacted.”

— Venita Ray, HIV Racial Justice Now! & the Positive Women’s Network-USA

For World AIDS Day 2021, FCAA is releasing Racial Justice in HIV Philanthropy Guiding Principles. These principles offer funders guidance on changing their approach to philanthropy to focus on racial equity and racial justice.

This genesis for these principles started in 2018, in partnership with HIV Racial Justice Now!, and included the AIDS Philanthropy Summit plenary session, We have nothing to lose but our chains — Toward a Racial Justice Framework for the HIV Justice Movement.

FCAA later formed the Racial Justice Working Group to advocate for increased resources and to urge philanthropy to improve transparency in racial justice efforts so that grant making can be adequately monitored and improved.

The organization also took a deeper look at the data gathered through its resource tracking efforts to determine how much philanthropic HIV funding is currently going to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in the U.S. The findings show that, despite the structural racism and social determinants of health that fuel the epidemic among people of color, there is a clear gap in resources. While there may have been an increased emphasis from grant makers in recent years, funding opportunities have not necessarily addressed racial equity by explicitly naming BIPOC communities in their intent and strategy.

The steps FCAA has taken since the 2018 Summit led to today’s launch of the Guiding Principles. This new guidance covers four areas in which HIV-informed funders can take actionable steps to increase funding for racial equity and move toward racial justice:

This effort is far from the end of our collective work. HIV-informed funders, like the rest of the world, have a long way to go to ensure racial equity and racial justice are embedded in everything we do. This guidance is intended to be a tool to support our community in doing this work.

“These guidelines give us concrete steps to help build in intentionality around racial equity and racial justice.” — Valerie Rochester, CHC: Creating Healthier Communities

There is no better day than World AIDS Day for HIV-informed funders to commit to these principles. As a community, we must hold ourselves accountable to anti-racist funding that specifically dismantles structural racism, increases funding for racial equity, and moves us towards racial justice.

“If we don’t deal with the structural challenges, we’ll still be here in 20 years. We can’t end an epidemic without involving the people who are impacted.”

— Venita Ray, HIV Racial Justice Now! & the Positive Women’s Network-USA

FCAA thanks HIV Racial Justice Now for partnering with us in our work on racial justice since 2018. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Marco Castro-Bojorquez, who helped initiate this effort in body, and continues with us in spirit. We dedicate these principles to his memory.

Take action by:

Reading the Guiding Principles, which are available in English and Spanish.

Sharing tools and resources to help inform and support grant makers to utilize these principles.

Watching a 2021 FCAA Summit panel discussion about the origins of this work.

Revisiting A Declaration of Liberation: Building a Racially Just and Strategic Domestic HIV Movement, presented by the Racial Justice Framework Group in November 2017.

HIV Community sign-on:

In partnership with HIV Racial Justice Now!, FCAA is presenting this sign on form for community organizations to sign on to endorse and demonstrate that these principles must be applied in philanthropic practice.



Funders Concerned About AIDS

FCAA informs, connects & supports philanthropy in response to the global pandemic of HIV and AIDS.