Our Partners: Fundo Positivo Finds Frontline Organizations in Brazil to Support

Stories@Gilead - November 25, 2020

Harley Henriques, who has spent his life advocating for people living with HIV, has led Fundo Positivo since it launched in 2014 — on World AIDS Day.

“We worked to create this structure of a private HIV fund in Brazil that would be completely independent of the government,” Harley explains. “It’s a fund that represents the highest needs of HIV services in Brazil.”

Fundo Positivo is an umbrella organization that funds and supports frontline nonprofits providing services across Brazil. Currently, the fund supports 120 organizations that serve a broad range of populations. Fundo Positivo is largely supported by foundations and corporate donations. It is also one of Gilead’s grantees.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Brazil in April, Fundo Positivo was in the middle of preparing its latest request for proposals. Immediately, Harley realized that while some organizations were able to pivot to providing support virtually, others had to continue in-person services to treat one epidemic in the midst of another.

“We were aware that some groups didn’t have the possibility to be or stay isolated,” Harley says. “For example, sex workers. It was not possible for them to stay at home and for those supporting them to do so virtually. So, we decided to support peer-to-peer programs that work specifically with sex workers, and those who are not able to isolate.”

Harley says part of Fundo Positivo’s mission is to support trans women, sex workers and residents of favelas, a type of low-income housing in Brazil.

“I think it’s a really important part of Fundo Positivo to support people that are many times overlooked,” he says.

But there are other vulnerable populations. Harley says women living with HIV are also overlooked in Brazil, and so Fundo Positivo supports a network of women living with HIV, which has become a national movement.

Fundo Positivo’s success over the past few years has enabled Harley and the staff to expand the scope of their work.

With Fundo Positivo’s extensive network across Brazil, the organization has been able to provide financial and social support to a range of community groups that provide services to trans women in Rio de Janeiro and Venezuelan immigrants in the north Amazon, among others.

“We created a national network in Brazil of dozens of organizations that are sharing experiences and ways of developing solutions to problems,” Harley says. “This work is really important.”