About GMFA, the gay men's health charity
Founded in 1992, GMFA is the UK's leading charity dedicated to gay men's health. Our mission is to improve gay men's health by increasing the control they have over their own lives.
We believe that the best health promotion for gay men comes from gay men themselves. For this reason, we use the knowledge and ideas of volunteers, most of them gay men, to design and plan our sexual health interventions. These include a range of advertising campaigns, leaflets, postcards and booklets; FS, our 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, we create targeted sexual health interventions for black gay men and HIV positive gay men.
Independent surveys have concluded that GMFA's advertising campaigns reach up to 60% of the London gay population and hundreds of thousands of gay men access our online sexual health information each year, making GMFA the most reliable agency for reaching gay men.
- 1992: GMFA was founded 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.
- 2001: GMFA merged with the Black gay men's group Big Up.
- 2002: GMFA broadened its remit to include all health issues which disproportionately affect gay men over other populations. We changed our mission statement 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.
Our mission is the guiding principle which governs all our work. We believe GMFA's role is to provide gay men with accurate and credible information, and with the skills that enable them to make informed choices and exercise control over their own actions.
GMFA is a volunteer-led organisation. We use 'Volunteer Leadership' to describe the method by which GMFA volunteers contribute to GMFA and participate in developing its interventions.
GMFA wants gay men to play a central role in the design and delivery of interventions. From the beginning, GMFA has used a model of community mobilisation and peer education. Many things about GMFA have changed, but retaining gay men at the heart of our organisation and our work has not. Each year between 160 and 200 people actively volunteer for us, and our methods of developing projects and our policies are built around being a truly 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.
Click to download a copy of GMFA's policy on Volunteer Leadership.
Principles and values
In addition to our mission, we have a set of principles and values to which all our projects must conform. They are:
- Interventions should be evidence-based.
- 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.
- A project must not promote the health of one person over another.
- Health promotion should empower people rather than reduce their choices.
- Interventions should be of the greatest value to gay men within the resources available.
- 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.
- All people, regardless of their HIV status, are entitled to a satisfying sex life.
- 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's work is developed in partnership with other voluntary, statutory and research organisations. These include:
- Pan London HIV Prevention Programme The majority of GMFA's HIV prevention work for gay men in London is funded through the PLHPP. Our PLHPP partners are PACE, 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 PCTs.
- Community HIV and AIDS Prevention Strategy Through CHAPS, we are partnered with other sexual health organisations across ten cities in England. The CHAPS partnership aims at providing HIV prevention initiatives to reach gay men in those cities across England with the highest prevalence of HIV.
- GUM Clinics GMFA also has strong links with genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics throughout London and the UK. This enables us to distribute resources; receive expert advice on sexual health issues; and to ensure that the information we disseminate is accurate.
- Gay Scene GMFA would not be as successful as it is without the support and collaboration of more than a hundred pubs and clubs who raise funds and provide distribution points for our activities, as well as the gay magazines and internet sites that support us and that carry our ads.