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COMPASS Initiative™

A compass pointing in the South direction

Taking on the Southern HIV/AIDS Epidemic

In 2017, Gilead launched its COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative, a 10-year, $100 million partnership with community-based organizations working to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States. You can learn more by visiting

HIV Is Hitting the South Harder Than Any Other U.S. Region

The Southern U.S. faces a growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Despite being home to only 38 percent of the country’s population, Southern states experienced 52 percent of new HIV infections in 2017. Similar to other societal disparities—including poverty, housing stability and food security —the epidemic represents a complex challenge that requires a variety of community-based solutions, particularly in the South.

United States map highlighting the Southern states' population affected by HIV

In the South, 433,816 people are living with HIV

Statistic graphic representing 49% of HIV related deaths in the South

The South accounts for 49% of all deaths of people diagnosed with HIV in the U.S.

View source statistics
Statistic graphic representing 71% of black women getting diagnosed with HIV in the South

In the South, black women accounted for 71% of women with diagnosed HIV

View source statistics

Bringing a Holistic Approach to Addressing HIV/AIDS in the South

We are committed to working with local organizations to learn about and address the specific needs of their communities. We can create a lasting impact in the South—by improving the quality of and access to care, enhancing local leadership and advocacy, and changing public perception of HIV/AIDS in the region.

Learn More About Our Areas of Focus

The Gilead COMPASS Initiative supports holistic solutions that meet the specific needs of Southern communities. The Initiative focuses on three approaches to address the challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the South.

Our COMPASS Initiative Partners

Gilead selected three Coordinating Centers to lead the corporate giving program of the COMPASS Initiative. The Coordinating Centers provide funding to local organizations that are committed to addressing the epidemic in the South. By collaborating with these organizations, the COMPASS Initiative can provide the most effective and appropriate resources to help meet the specific needs of the people in communities most affected by the HIV epidemic.

COMPASS Coordinating Centers

Emory, Rollins School of Public Health logo

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University provides direct access to hands-on research, and collaboration with the world's leading public health agencies. The Emory Coordinating Center builds on Emory’s extensive history of HIV research, training and technical assistance to support organizational capacity building. The center uses a data-driven approach to identify geographic areas where organizational capacity building can have the greatest impact.

Read About The Rollins School of Public Health

University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work logo

University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) research initiatives and community partnerships have fueled successful HIV programs for nearly a decade. The GCSW Coordinating Center enhances HIV/AIDS prevention and care efforts by incorporating attention to the role of wellness, trauma, mental health and substance use, and increasing capacity to conduct comprehensive assessments using evidence-based screenings and appropriate follow-up care.

Learn More About GCSW

Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) logo

Southern AIDS Coalition
The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is a non partisan coalition of government, community and business leaders working alongside thousands of individual members to prevent new infections and build a South inclusive of people living with HIV. SAC does this through public health advocacy, capacity building and education, research and evaluation, and strategic grantmaking. The SAC Coordinating Center develops and supports education and advocacy efforts to address HIV-related stigma, discrimination and health inequities.

Read More About The Southern AIDS Coalition