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What is Positive Action Challenges (PAC)?

Positive Action Challenges (PAC) is an innovation platform with a simple objective: to focus a global community of problem solvers on the enduring gaps, unmet needs and bottlenecks preventing the end of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. We aim to encourage new and innovative approaches where current and past practice has failed to address these issues or has delivered inadequate success. We run challenge prize competitions connecting experts in HIV and international development communities with solvers and innovators from other fields. Our challenges aim to identify replicable, scalable and sustainable solutions that can overcome common bottlenecks faced in tackling HIV. We collaborate with partners to pool knowledge and expertise and we encourage our community of solvers to do the same.

Why is ViiV Healthcare running challenge prizes?

Challenges prizes have throughout history proven able to engage diverse communities to solve some of the greatest challenges of the day. As part of ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action programmes, PAC is a vehicle through which we aim to achieve substantive change in the field of HIV. We believe that collaboration and innovation go hand-in-hand and that challenge prizes can help incentivise solutions to the problems faced by communities and health systems in tackling HIV. Please see our History of Challenge Prizes Video to learn more.

Is this a grant funding programme?

No. Positive Action Challenges does not make grants. Our challenge prizes are narrowly focused competitions seeking to identify innovative solutions to specific but common problems in HIV care. Current Positive Action grantees (PACF, PAGW, PAMSM/T etc.) may apply to our challenges as long as solutions proposed address the challenge statement and judging criteria. For more information see the About PAC page.

Who can apply?

We are seeking to build a diverse community of people ('solvers') committed to problem solving within the fields of HIV and international development, regardless of background. If you think you could be part of the solution to our challenges, join the PAC community and meet like-minded solvers. Check out the About PAC and Challenges pages or contact the PAC team via the Contact Us page to find out more.

My organisation has an existing grant with Positive Action. Can I apply?

Yes but Positive Action Challenges is not a traditional grant funder. We run challenges prizes seeking innovative solutions to enduring bottlenecks and gaps in HIV care. Consequently, existing grantees should not submit proposals for grant funding to Positive Action Challenges. Your entry must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in each specific challenge to be considered. 

How do I apply?

Check out the Current Challenges we are running to select a challenge to enter. After reading the challenge details, select the 'Apply Now' tab for details on how to apply. You will be redirected to the Positive Action Challenges community portal where you must register or sign in to start an application. Guidance is provided within the community portal on how to submit your application. 

Does my submission to PAC have to be a new invention?

It could be but doesn’t necessarily have to be. You will need to demonstrate how your solution addresses the specific challenge posed. Keep in mind that if the solution has been around for some time, you will need to explain why the problem still exists and why your solution has not already been adopted to address it. A key criterion for success is demonstrating that your idea can be replicated and scaled in other similar settings at low or no cost to the end user.

What is the status of the intellectual property (IP) of my entry?

We encourage solutions to be open source so that others may duplicate your model, however all intellectual property rights remain with the submitter/author. In some cases, ViiV Healthcare, the sponsor of Positive Action Challenges may contact authors to negotiate first right(s) to develop a concept in exchange for Proof of Concept funding.

Do I need a patent to apply?

No - a patent is not necessary to apply. However, if you do not have a patent you should not submit any information that you wish to keep confidential or that could negatively impact future patentability of your idea. All entries submitted will be treated as non-confidential. 

Will all the challenges be HIV-focussed?

Our core offering is to tackle bottlenecks in HIV community care and development. Within this space, we also aim to address any practices that limit health, aspiration and rights more broadly. Consequently, all of our challenges will apply to resource-limited settings where the HIV epidemic is the most pronounced, though applicability may extend beyond this area.

How long are the challenges?

Our challenges vary in length depending on the complexity of the problem being addressed. Previous challenges have ranged from 10 weeks to 10 months. Updates will be provided throughout the process to keep users informed of the challenge status.

How will I know when new challenges are launched?

Sign up to our mailing list by selecting the 'mail' icon at the bottom right of the page and we will keep you updated on upcoming challenge prizes. If you have a specific question or would like to propose a challenge topic, please contact us here.

What are the criteria for the challenges?

The challenge criteria will vary from challenge to challenge but the following standard criteria will be used across all challenges:

  • People Centred – Winning Entries may focus on a process, technology or other system, but the ultimate benefit must be measurable in terms of impact on people’s lives. Must ensure privacy, demonstrate an ability to not perpetuate stigma associated with HIV and enhance active community participation in solution development, where possible.
  • Replicable – Entries can be replicated and adapted by others at low cost to ensure broader implementation and uptake as quickly as possible in similar settings.
  • Scalable – Entries must demonstrate how they can be scaled beyond pilot programmes to large scale responses that can be implemented at greater/national scale.
  • Sustainable – Entries must demonstrate how they are implementable in the longer term (beyond the lifecycle of prize funding awarded) using the resources that already exist or which can be incremental to existing service delivery at low cost.
  • Affordable – Entries must demonstrate affordability (low-cost or no-cost to the end users) within resource limited settings or other similar settings as detailed in the individual Challenges.

Achieving substantive change – Successful Entries are expected to change the thoughts, processes and other barriers that prevent people living in resource limited settings from receiving the best care possible within the resources (financial and other) available, demonstrating a clear benefit to the people and systems targeted.

What is the value of the prizes?

The value of the prizes will vary from challenge to challenge, as will the specific objectives and criteria. Please see our Completed Challenges for more information on previous prizes.

I still have questions - who can I contact?

Please contact for more information