25 May 2021

International grant for getting to zero new HIV infections in Australia

A/Prof Jason Ong has received a Gilead 'Getting to Zero' grant for
improving access to HIV PrEP for newly arrived overseas born men
who have sex with men (MSM).

Congratulations to Associate Professor Jason Ong, who is one of two Australian recipients of Gilead Sciences Australia New Zealand's Getting to Zero Grant Program 2021, a global initiative supporting projects aimed at getting to zero new HIV infections.

The first Australian Grant recipient is a new project by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) in partnership with the Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance (ANA) to develop, a new program of HIV health promotion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and workforce capacity building materials for health workers engaged with Indigenous people. 

The second Australian recipient to receive the Gilead ‘Getting to Zero’ Grant funding is Monash University for a project looking to improve access to HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for newly arrived overseas born men who have sex with men (MSM).

Newly arrived overseas-born gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM) require an increased focus on HIV prevention, and strategies to encourage HIV testing and earlier diagnosis of HIV 2. Late HIV diagnoses in overseas born GBM have increased substantially (32%) over the past 5 years in contrast with a 47% decline in the Australian-born cohort. 

Associate Professor Jason Ong, a sexual health physician at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, part of Monash University’s Central Clinical School and project lead, said the funding ($80,200 over 12-18 months) from the Getting to Zero Grant will help enable overseas born GBM to access pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a highly effective biomedical prevention strategy.

“Success in HIV prevention is highly dependent on cooperation and insights from a range of stakeholders. We recognise while overseas-born MSM is a specific population, there are many different countries, associated cultures, behaviours and levels of education and awareness for HIV prevention and treatment within this community. 

“Our project aims to use lessons from behavioural economics to quickly and efficiently engage many stakeholders to solve complex challenges and create intervention strategies to empower overseas born Gay & Bisexual Men (GBM) with a focus on Asian born GBM to access PrEP,” he said.

Jaime McCoy, General Manager, Gilead Sciences Australia New Zealand commented, “Gilead remains deeply connected with, and committed to, the HIV community in Australia, and we are pleased to provide these highly sought-after global grants to AFAO and ANA, and Monash University.”

“Australia is one of a number of countries leading the way in striving for the UNAIDS 2030 targets, but there are still several populations, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and migrant populations, where continued focus and investment is critical if we are to achieve zero new transmissions in Australia,” concluded Ms McCoy.

About the Gilead ‘Getting to Zero’ Grant

The Gilead Sciences ‘Getting to Zero’ Grant is a global initiative that has provided over AU$3.75 million in funding to HIV related research projects from around the world. This year 18 Grants have been awarded to projects in 13 countries around the world that:

  • Help individuals learn their HIV status and get the care they need; and /or
  • Aim to solve the challenges of tomorrow such as understanding the impact HIV has on specific populations
  • Show innovative thinking in HIV treatment and education
  • Identify and create a new generation of advocates with the objective of ‘Getting to zero’


  • National update on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia: 2009-2018. Sydney: Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney published 2020.
  • Trends in HIV and HIV prevention indicators in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in NSW, 2015-2019: implications for new interventions and for monitoring and evaluation in a new NSW HIV strategy. Sydney. NSW HIV Prevention Partnership Project, Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney published 2020.

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