COMPASS Initiative®

A compass pointing in the South direction

Taking on the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. South

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

Wake Forest University School of Divinity Joins the Gilead COMPASS Initiative

The power to end the HIV epidemic is within our reach. Dean Jonathan Walton and Dr. Shonda Jones, from the newest COMPASS Coordinating Center, talk about how we can get there by working to change the narrative around HIV within faith communities.

Morris Singletary Brings Forward His Spirit, Passion, and Vision as a COMPASS Grantee

The founder of PoZitive2PoSitive believes that collaboration with the Black church is essential in the fight against HIV. Hear how his experience growing up in the U.S. South and within his church helped him live out loud – and how he believes other Black churches can do the same for people living with HIV.

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

The Southern U.S. is disproportionately impacted by HIV. Although the U.S. South accounts for only 38% of the country’s population, the region accounts for 52% of new HIV diagnoses. The HIV epidemic is a complex challenge that requires a variety of community-based solutions. We’re proud to help.

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 U.S. South accounts for 49% of AIDS-related deaths in the country.

View source statistics
Statistic graphic representing 67% of Black women diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. South

In the U.S. South, Black women accounted for 67% of all new diagnoses of HIV among women.

View source statistics

Bringing a Holistic Approach to Addressing HIV in the U.S. 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 U.S. South—by improving the quality of and access to care, enhancing local leadership and advocacy, and changing public perception of HIV in the region.

Areas of Focus

The Gilead COMPASS Initiative supports holistic solutions that meet the specific needs of communities in the U.S. South. The initiative focuses on four approaches to address the challenges posed by the HIV epidemic in the region.

Gilead COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers

Gilead selected four Coordinating Centers to lead the key focus areas of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative. The Coordinating Centers provide support to local organizations that are committed to addressing the epidemic in the U.S. South. Learn more about our COMPASS Initiative partnerships at

COMPASS Coordinating Centers

Emory, Rollins School of Public Health logo

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health 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 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

Wake Forest University School of Divinity logo

Wake Forest University School of Divinity
The Wake Forest University School of Divinity will advance the capacity of faith communities to address the HIV epidemic in the U.S. South using a social justice framework, interfaith engagement and inclusion of LGBTQ+ communities. Wake Forest will collaborate with interfaith partners, religious institutions, emerging faith leaders and community members to create inclusive faith spaces for people seeking to explore how faith and spirituality can help end HIV-related stigma, discrimination and health inequities.

Read more about the Wake Forest University School of Divinity