In April, the National AIDS Commission (NAC), Belize, formally launched Belize’s Global Fund Grant in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW).

The Global Fund approved Belize’s funding request (2022-2024) for a total allocation of USD 2,998,947 to advance the country’s response to HIV and AIDS.  In addition, a Prioritised Above Allocation Request (PAAR) totalling USD 987,000 was also approved by the Global Fund.

The Launch signified the commencement of activities under the Grant.

Activities include supporting the implementation of HIV self-testing, building on work currently being undertaken with PANCAP-CVC-COIN Regional Global Fund grant funding.  The new Grant will also support the procurement of dual test kits for HIV and Syphilis testing for immediate diagnosis and treatment among Key Populations (KPs).

Activities under the Grant will include retention in care through psychosocial support, including counselling and nutritional packages and referrals to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and HIV negative KPs.  Further, the Grant will support the procurement of GeneXpert machines and cartridges to decentralise diagnostics for TB and VL testing to all treatment sites, providing access to services for persons closer to where they live and work.

The Grant also encompasses the implementation of an Integrated Bio-behavioral Survey and the completion of a drug resistance study, the development of safety and security plans for KPs and skills training among the LGBTIQ community to reduce economic dependence and vulnerability to HIV and other STIs.

In addition, the Grant will support human resources, including the position of TB/HIV Coordinator, four new laboratory technicians and two additional adherence counsellors for coordination, supervision, adherence and viral load decentralisation.