AIDS United, with support from Gilead Sciences, has awarded a total of $300,000 in grants to six community-based organizations. The goal is to develop the leadership skills of people living with HIV, with the specific aim of fighting discrimination and stigma.

The grants arrive from an initiative formerly called Positive Organizing Project that has been rebranded as People Organizing Positively (POP). The new name uses people- language to illustrate the importance of putting people living with HIV at the forefront of advocacy and leadership.

These grants are the latest of five cycles of one-year grants to groups across the nation. So far, 45 grants have been awarded under the initiative, which receives technical assistance from the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus.

“As a person living with HIV, it is terribly important to me that AIDS United prioritizes leadership development and meaningful involvement of people directly impacted by it,” said Jesse Milan Jr., AIDS United president and CEO in a press release from the group. “The work of the POP grantees and the advocacy of the hundreds of leaders who have come through previous POP cohorts have brought us closer than ever to eliminating HIV stigma and, ultimately, to ending this epidemic.”

“The efforts of the POP grantees are critical to reducing stigma around HIV, informing the national response and helping people living with HIV,” added Gregg H. Alton, chief patient officer at Gilead Sciences, in a press release from AIDS United. “Through our partnership with AIDS United, we are proud to be able to support this next generation of leaders.”

Regarding the initiative’s rebranding, Milan said: “Our words have the power to uplift and empower or they can be used to marginalize, victimize, and stigmatize. We must continue to evolve our language, but also embody our commitment to strengthening the voices and roles of people living with HIV and support them as they provide the leadership essential to our national response to this epidemic.”

The AIDS United site offers more information about POP, including the 2018 POP Projects.