GMFA was founded in 1992 by a group of gay men who felt that there was not enough HIV prevention work being specifically targeted at gay men.
Originally named Gay Men Fighting AIDS, GMFA’s initial remit was to campaign for more targeted HIV prevention work aimed at gay men, and to raise awareness of HIV amongst gay men.
GMFA uses a model of community mobilisation and peer education, with gay men playing a central role in the design and delivery of interventions. In 2001, GMFA merged with the Black gay men’s group Big Up and, in 2002, GMFA broadened its remit to include all health issues which disproportionately affect gay men over other populations. As a result, the organisation changed its mission statement in 2002 and 'Gay Men Fighting AIDS' became 'GMFA - the gay men's health charity'.
“Improving gay men’s health by increasing the control they have over their own lives.”
Principles and values
GMFA has 8 principles upon which it is based and claims to be measured:
1. Interventions should be evidence-based.
2. HIV-prevention interventions must contribute towards the targets set out within Making It Count, the planning framework for HIV health promotion recommended by the Department of Health.
3. A project must not promote the health of one person over another.
4. Health promotion should empower people rather than reduce their choices.
5. Interventions should be of the greatest value to gay men within the resources available.
6. Services should be provided on an equitable rather than equal basis. Sub-populations of gay men have different levels of need and so our work should attempt to reduce health inequalities amongst gay men.
7. All people, regardless of their HIV status, are entitled to a satisfying sex life.
8. All people, regardless of their sexual behaviour, sexual identity or HIV status, are entitled to the same rights and respect as all other people.
GMFA is a volunteer-led organisation. Volunteers lead the organisation both by being elected members of the Board of Directors and by contributing to projects as members of the groups who develop projects. All GMFA volunteers have the right to join any group within GMFA.
Volunteers are mainly recruited through promotion on all GMFA interventions, and undergo an induction process. The organisation welcomes volunteers from all sections of the community, although the majority of volunteers are gay men. The volunteer base is made up of HIV-negative and HIV-positive people.
Funding & Partnerships
The majority of GMFA's HIV prevention work for gay men in London is funded through the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme, in which its partners are Project for Advice, Counselling and Education, The Terrence Higgins Trust, Camden's Good Sexual Health Team, London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, the GMI Partnership, Ergo Consulting and commissioners from various London NHS primary care trusts .
Through the CHAPS health organisation, GMFA is also partnered with other sexual health organisations across ten cities in England and Wales. The CHAPS partnership aims at providing HIV prevention initiatives to reach gay men in those cities across England with the highest prevalence of HIV.
GMFA’s interventions for gay men have included advertising campaigns, leaflets, postcards and booklets; FS, its health magazine, distributed nationally in gay venues and GU clinics; and national and London-based courses covering sex education, life skills and smoking cessation. In addition, GMFA creates targeted sexual health interventions for black gay men and HIV positive gay men.
GMFA’s interventions have included the Arse Class group work course, which teaches gay men how to keep sex fun, safe and pleasurable. This first ran in cities across the UK in 2007; its Responsibility advertising campaign in 2005, encouraging men to take responsibility for safer sex; FS magazine, which is available for free in gay venues and GUM clinics across the UK; and In The Family, a 2-volume celebration of the achievements of the men and women who have helped to build the Black gay community in London.
The charity runs a range of information websites:
Sex and Sexual health Sexual health London services HIV Positive guide Gay Sports Clubs And Social Groups Quit Smoking Free national services