9 Best Charities for HIV/AIDS Research & Relief (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities for HIV/AIDS Research & Relief (Complete 2024 List)

By
Dennis Kamprad

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There are approximately 38.4 million people with HIV and AIDS worldwide. This virus impacts the immune system by killing the cells needed to fight off disease and it can be fatal if not treated. Those who have HIV and AIDS also often face stigma and a lack of access to medical resources. Fortunately, charities around the world are committed to supporting those with HIV and/or AIDS. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for HIV/AIDS research & relief?

The best charities for HIV and AIDS research and relief are the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Others, such as the International AIDS Society and UNAIDS provide HIV and AIDS relief to people around the world, by advocating for policy changes. 

Whether you want to help provide access to prevention techniques and education, support HIV and AIDS research, or reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for HIV and AIDS research & relief are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for HIV/AIDS Research & Relief Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate all over the world, from North America to Asia. And they all share the same goal of ensuring every person with HIV and AIDS has the support and resources they need to thrive without discrimination.

Some of these charities support HIV and AIDS relief by providing prevention and treatment measures. Others focus on reducing the social and political stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Yet, they all have the same focus of HIV and AIDS research and relief. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for HIV/AIDS Research & Relief in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for HIV/AIDS research & relief (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Elton John AIDS Foundation: Funding World-Wide HIV/AIDS Prevention

Logo for Elton John AIDS Foundation
The Elton John AIDS Foundation: Our Focus

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Elton John AIDS Foundation a 4-star rating.

“We are committed to no more discrimination. No more HIV infections. No more AIDS deaths.”

Elton John AIDS Foundation

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What they do:

The Elton John AIDS Foundation works around the world to end the AIDS epidemic and provide HIV and AIDS relief. For example, their Radian project provides grant money for HIV and AIDS education and prevention in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Other projects, such as Menstar, focuses on HIV diagnosis and testing in Sub-Saharan men. The charity also provided funding during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that those who are worst affected by HIV and AIDs still had care they needed, despite the lack of resources available during the global pandemic. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the Elton John AIDS Foundation is the number one philanthropic funder for HIV and AIDS in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. They are also the 3rd largest funder for HIV/AIDS in Asia and East Asia. Since their founding, they have completed a total of 48 partnership projects that have made impacts around the world. For example, in 2020 they reached 68,000 people in 30 countries with their COVID-19 Emergency Funding.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Elton John AIDS Foundation on their website. You can also contribute by attending one of their charitable events.

2

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation: Pediatric AIDS Prevention

Logo for Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
EGPAF: Who We Are

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives them the platinum seal of transparency. 

“Founded through a mother’s determination, we are driven to see a world where no other mother, child or family is devastated by this disease.”

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

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What they do:

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation works in 19 countries across the globe to support people living with AIDS and HIV. They do this by funding research and advocating for better public policies to improve the reach and quality of HIV and AIDS resources in low-income areas. They also strengthen healthcare systems in low income areas by training local healthcare workers in HIV and AIDS treatments, increasing access to life-saving medication, and improving health financing. By offering technical assistance and program improvement, their experts on HIV and AIDS are able to provide consultations and mentorships to healthcare systems and other organizations around the world.  

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has provided services to over 32 million women to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS. They have also provided testing for over 130,000 infants exposed to HIV, and started treatment for over 4,000 HIV-positive infants. In addition, they have installed Quality Improvement (QI) measures in over 1,000 healthcare facilities across 14 countries

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation directly on their website. You can also support the charity by hosting a dance-a-thon or starting a community fundraiser.

3

afmAR: Ending The AIDS Epidemic Through Research

Logo for American Foundation for AIDS Research
amfAR: Cure-Focused, Mission-Driven

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives amfAR a 3-star rating. 

amfAR’s mission is to end the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research”

amfAR

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What they do:

amfAR funds innovative research on HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention by awarding grants. Their Target Grants fund between $100,000 – $400,000 to teams researching HIV cures, and their Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Biomedical Research grants fund postdoctoral researchers transitioning to independent careers while researching HIV and AIDS. The charity also runs free databases with information about HIV and AIDS to help inform policymakers and drive research-backed advocacy to end the AIDS epidemic in the US. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, afmAR has invested nearly $617 million into their programs and awarded more than 3,500 grants worldwide. For example, in 2021, they supported 30 research teams and funded $600,000 towards research on gene therapy as a cure for HIV. Using their information database, they found large gaps in the US’s HIV prevention strategy, mostly affecting the transgender population. The awareness of these issues will help to bridge the gap and allow transgender people to access quality care and support in HIV and Aids prevention, treatment, and education.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to amfAR on their website. You can also host a fundraiser or buy their merchandise via their online store. 

4

UNAIDS: International AIDS relief

Logo for UNAIDS
So what's stopping us from ending AIDS?

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their transparency portal, UNAIDS spends 84.9% of their income directly on charitable activities. 

Since it started operations in 1996, UNAIDS has led and inspired global, regional, national and local leadership, innovation and partnership to ultimately consign HIV to history.

UNAID

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What they do:

UNAIDS focuses on HIV prevention and treatment by increasing government accountability and improving access to services, including antiretroviral medication and behavior change interventions. They also work to prevent the transmission of HIV in children by providing testing and treatment for mothers. In addition, they advocate for policy change around the world to decriminalize HIV transmission, sex work, and same-sex relationships. 

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What they’ve achieved:

To date, UNAID and their partners have helped 85% of people living with AIDS to know their diagnosis, with 88% of those accessing treatment. For example, in 2021, they helped 130 countries overcome barriers to access HIV prevention and treatment due to COVID-19. They were also directly involved in decriminalization laws passed in Antigua and Barbuda to support same-sex couples. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to UNAID on their website. You can also keep up with the latest updates about the charity on Twitter and Facebook

5

Frontline AIDS: Fighting the AIDS Epidemic in Marginalized Groups

Logo for Frontline AIDS
We are the frontline | Voices from people on the frontline of HIV | World AIDS Day 2019

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Frontline AIDS spent 98.4% of their income on charitable activities. 

“A future free from AIDS, for everyone, everywhere.”

Frontline AIDS

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What they do:

Frontline AIDS’ provides up to $15,000 in Rapid Response Grants to organizations that help marginalized groups fight human-rights challenges caused by HIV and AIDS diagnoses, including LGBT+ people, sex workers, and drug users. Through their REAct program, they also record human rights violations when accessing HIV services in order to gain information for policy change. They also are on the frontline of HIV prevention and HIV treatment by working with communities to build individualized prevention programs, running HIV testing centers, and increasing access to treatments.

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, Frontline AIDS has 60 partners and works in over 100 countries to fight for HIV and AIDS relief. For example, in 2021, they provided over 12.1 million people with sexual and reproductive services. Since starting the Rapid Response fund in 2016, $4.3 million dollars have been granted to organizations in 43 countries

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Frontline AIDS via their website. Additionally, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their latest projects. 

6

AIDS United: Ending the AIDS Epidemic in the US

Logo for AIDS United
HIV is still here, and so are we

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives AIDS United a 3-star rating. 

“In the ongoing work for social justice and true equity, ending the HIV epidemic in the United States is our chosen role.”

AIDS United

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What they do:

AIDS United offers capacity-building workshops to improve programs for HIV and AIDS prevention through staff training, social media strategies, and marketing. They also provide grants and funding to further support the implementation of programs to decrease HIV transmission across the US. In addition, the charity advocates for improved public policy to increase AIDS relief by leveraging the power of several organizations across the country.

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What they’ve achieved:

AIDS United assists around 90 AIDS and HIV focused organizations annually. Since their inception, they have provided support to 275 organizations across the US and have directly funded over $118 million to vulnerable communities for HIV and AIDS relief. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to AIDS United on their website. You can also support the charity by assisting with their advocacy programs by writing to your state representatives.

7

International AIDS Society: International AIDS Education and Research

Logo for International AIDS Society
Healthcare for all: Overcoming HIV stigma in Lebanon

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the International AIDS Society a score of 100 out of 100 for finance and accountability

“To galvanize the scientific response, build global solidarity and enhance human dignity for all those living with and affected by HIV.”

International AIDS Society

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What they do:

The International AIDS Society runs the Journal of the International AIDS Society to publish peer-reviewed research about HIV and AIDS. They also offer an Educational Fund to keep HIV stakeholders up to date on new research and policies. In addition, they offer various fellowship programs to train future and early HIV and AIDS researchers. Furthermore, their Heart of Stigma program advocates to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by HIV and AIDS sufferers. Their advocacy efforts also include the Cure for HIV program which promotes HIV research and pushes for HIV research to be placed on political agendas. 

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What they’ve achieved:

The International AIDS Society has grown to over 15,000 members in 170 countries. Since its establishment in 2016, over 17,000 people have been educated by their Educational Fund. In 2021, they reviewed over 150 HIV research studies through their Cure for HIV program and created updated recommendations for priorities in HIV cure research. 

Ways to contribute:

You can become a member of the International AIDS Society on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on their latest research and advocacy efforts. 

8

AIDS Healthcare Foundation: Providing World-Wide Healthcare for People With HIV and AIDS

Logo for AIDS Healthcare Foundation
#SurviveAndThrive with HIV+ Pro Bodybuilder Raif Derrazi

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the AIDS Healthcare Foundation a score of 97 out of 100 for finance and accountability

“AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global nonprofit organization providing high-quality HIV care and services to those in need.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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What they do:

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation provides free HIV and STD testing at their AHF Wellness Centers. They also offer vital HIV and AIDS healthcare, including HIV-specific specialists, medications, and services. In addition, they lead worldwide advocacy efforts to change and improve federal policies in the US and around the globe for HIV and AIDS. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation serves over 1.6 million AIDS patients worldwide. For example, in 2021, they gave 3,619,181 free HIV tests. Their advocacy successes include helping to pass a law in Argentina to ensure access to healthcare for people living with HIV and AIDS. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation on their website. You can also help them advocate for better federal healthcare policies in the US by sending messages to your state representatives.

9

Black AIDS Institute: Ending the HIV and AIDS Epidemic in the Black Community

Logo for Black Aids Institute
We The People: A Black Strategy To End HIV

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Black AIDS Institute a 3-star rating, and GuideStar gives them the platinum seal of transparency. 

To stop the AIDS epidemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals to confront HIV.

Black AIDS Institute

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What they do:

The Black AIDS Institute offers the African American HIV University, which is an educational 7-part program to increase knowledge and decrease stigma for those living with HIV and AIDS. They also offer tailored needs assessments and training to health departments to better provide relief for those at risk for or living with HIV and AIDS. Through their Cut the Stigma program, they educate the public on HIV transmission and the negative effects of HIV discrimination. For residents of LA, they offer free HIV clinics that focus on testing and  prevention for Black, Latinx, and other underserved communities. 

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What they do:

The Black AIDS Institute educates 3,000 people annually through their African American HIV University. In addition, their online informational resources reach over 200,000 people every year. For example, in 2020 alone, they spent $2 million on HIV prevention at their LA-based clinics. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Black AIDS Institute on their website. You can also volunteer your time at a local chapter.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for HIV/AIDS research & relief. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to HIV/AIDS research & relief – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Dennis



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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