Find out everything you need to know about the COMPASS Initiative and the work we are doing to address the HIV epidemic in the South with a few of our most commonly asked questions.

If you don’t see your question, please Contact Us and we would love to talk with you.

When did the COMPASS Initiative begin?

The unprecedented $100 million Gilead COMPASS Initiative was announced by Gilead Sciences in late Fall of 2017 and will span across a 10 year period. The three selected COMPASS Coordinating Centers joined together in January 2018 and have been working collaboratively ever since to build capacity among organizations, institutions, and other entities to reduce HIV/AIDS and HIV-related disparities and advance equity in the South.

What does COMPASS stand for?

The Gilead COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative™ is an unprecedented $100 million commitment over 10 years to support organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States.

What makes the COMPASS Initiative different than other programs?

Our community-driven, collaborative approach through a number of community engagement activities enables us to provide informed resources, skills, and support to those at the frontline of the HIV epidemic while acknowledging the unique barriers to accessing preventative services and care that many communities in the South experience. 

Why is the COMPASS Initiative focusing on the Southern US?

The Southern U.S. is home to 37 percent of the country’s population but accounts for 44 percent of all those living with HIV. The region also includes 21 of the 25 metropolitan areas with the highest HIV prevalence among same gender loving and bisexual men. Additionally, the Southern U.S. accounts for 52 percent of all new HIV diagnoses, making it the most affected region in the entire country. 

Why is there an HIV epidemic in the Southern US?

Many people living in the Southern U.S. face a multitude of societal and systemic challenges that impede access to HIV testing and treatment. The burden of poverty, the cloud of stigma and prejudice, low health literacy, lack of insurance and access to care are among the critical challenges that distress people living with or at risk for HIV in the region. Addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis is not just limited to issues of health care access and delivery, but involves navigating cultural norms and daily barriers to seeking and remaining in care as well. Structural barriers are further compounded by policy issues and funding deficits that hit the South hardest, such as lack of Medicaid expansion and federal funding for HIV/AIDS. 

Who are the COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers?

Gilead has come together with three Coordinating Centers through the corporate giving program of the COMPASS Initiative: Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, and the Southern AIDS Coalition. Emory University Rollins School of Public Health focuses their efforts on capacity building assistance and increasing shared knowledge among HIV/AIDS-serving community-based organizations. University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work focuses on drawing attention to the role of mental health and trauma-informed care in the HIV epidemic, as well as substance use and the opioid epidemic. Southern AIDS Coalition emphasizes the need for HIV awareness, stigma reduction, and culturally appropriate care in our effort to address the epidemic in the Southern United States.

What are the different types of Community Investments made by the COMPASS Initiative?

The COMPASS Coordinating Centers provide trainingsgrants, and shared learning opportunities to organizations in the Southern United States to support the development of programs and activities that align with our programmatic focus areas. You can read more about our programmatic focus areas here .

Who is eligible to apply for the different types of Community Investment?

Currently, the Coordinating Centers will target their work across the nine-state Deep South region – Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas – providing community grants, shared learning opportunities , and trainings to organizations in the region. To be eligible for the different types of community investments, organizations must be located in and doing work in one of the nine Deep South states and be a non-profit, tax-exempt organization as set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. If your organization does not hold 501(c)(3) status, you must have a fiscal sponsor to apply.

Can I apply for more than one type of Community Investment?

Yes! However, you may only apply for ONE Transformative Grant per grant cycle.

What if I don’t see the type of training or funding my organization needs?

If you do not see the specific training that you are looking for, please contact us with a description of the training your organization would like to request and we will assess whether or not we can meet that need, or refer you to another organization outside of the COMPASS Initiative that can assist with that specific request.

How do I submit an application for a Community Investment?

You can apply for trainings, grants, and shared learning opportunities electronically through our website by clicking the “Apply” button at the top right-hand corner of the navigation bar. You can also access the applications through the Community Investment page. At this time, we do not accept applications by email, phone, or mail.

When will I hear back on the Community Investment application I submitted?

Training requests are fulfilled on a rolling basis and you can expect to be contacted by one of our Coordinating Centers within 7-10 business days of completing an application. Core and SPARK grants, which provide funding for capacity building, education, professional development, or organizational resources, are administered on a rolling basis, as available. Recipients of the Transformative grants, which provide funding up to $100,000 for the development and implementation of programs and activities across the three programmatic focus areas, will be announced yearly on World AIDS Day, December 1st. Organizations selected to participate in shared learning opportunities will be notified and publicly announced in December.

Other opportunities may arise at different times throughout the year, so subscribe to our mailing list for more information and additional announcements.

Where can I find out about upcoming COMPASS Initiative events?

Find out more about upcoming COMPASS Initiative events, as well as events from local community organizations across the South and national conferences that may be of interest on our events calendar. If you would like to submit a public event to be shared on our calendar, you can do so here.

What resources do you have for individuals?

You can find a multitude of national and local HIV services and locators on our Resources page. We also welcome individuals to join in the collaboration and conversation through our COMPASS Community Portal. Subscribe for future updates about additional resources and geospatial information about the HIV epidemic in the South.

How can I get involved with the COMPASS Initiative?

Check back for open positions across the three Coordinating Centers to join our team as an expert consultant or staff member. We welcome anyone with relevant experience to apply regardless of race, culture, gender, sexuality, language, or age. You can also subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates via email about open positions within the COMPASS Initiative.

Your organization can also get involved in the COMPASS Initiative by applying for one of our community investment opportunities to receive trainings, grant funding, or to participate in a shared learning opportunity.

How can I receive updates about the COMPASS Initiative?

Subscribe for email updates about the work the COMPASS Initiative is doing in the South, for new community investment and funding announcements, and to find out about new features available on our website and in the COMPASS Community Portal.

Are there plans to expand COMPASS to other cities/regions?

COMPASS will focus on the Southern U.S. at present, with future plans to be determined.