San Francisco, October 19, 2012—San Francisco AIDS Foundation today announced that plans are in development for a major new initiative to combat HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. Recently, its board of directors unanimously approved the establishment of the first-ever home for gay and bisexual men’s health and wellness in San Francisco. The new facility will bring together three foundation programs—Magnet, Stonewall Project, and STOP AIDS Project—to create a new space in the heart of the Castro to mobilize gay and bi men to think holistically about their health.
“We firmly believe that this new home for health and wellness is the key to ending HIV in our community and realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation,” said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “By putting these three programs under one roof, we are creating a first-of-its-kind facility that will evolve the way we think about HIV prevention and care to focus on health and wellness, not disease and sickness.”
The foundation has entered into a conditional agreement to house the new facility at 474 Castro Street. The location is the current home of Superstar Video and is across the street from the historic Castro Theatre. Due to the size and scale of the project, which will include the first and second floors of the building with the exception of Blush Wine Bar, the foundation must first receive approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and identify significant philanthropic support from the community in order to ensure programmatic success.
“This marks a new chapter in San Francisco’s proud history of being a pioneer in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener. “We have always been bold and innovative, doing whatever it takes to stop the disease and improve people’s health. I’m excited to see plans for yet another innovative approach to tackling HIV/AIDS in San Francisco and I look forward to engaging our entire community as those plans continue to take shape.”
San Francisco has one of the largest HIV-positive populations in the United States, and gay and bisexual men continue to bear the brunt of the disease. Seventy-five percent of new HIV infections in San Francisco are among gay and bisexual men, and one-in-five gay and bi men in the city is living with the disease. The new initiative is based in part on a pro bono study commissioned by the foundation from Bain & Company, indicating that the new facility will create efficiencies and expand programmatic capacity while also rapidly accelerating efforts to make new infections incredibly rare in San Francisco.
“San Francisco has made great progress against HIV/AIDS, but our work is far from over—especially among gay and bi men,” said Giuliano. “It’s become increasingly clear that co-locating our sexual health, substance use counseling, and community prevention efforts in the same space is critical to further reducing new HIV infections in San Francisco and improving health. This one-stop shop for gay and bi men is the beginning of a new era in the foundation’s long history of creating pioneering programs that respond to the needs of our community.”
The initiative to establish the new home for gay and bisexual men’s health and wellness complements the foundation’s ongoing efforts to radically reduce new HIV infections in San Francisco and ensure all people living with the disease have access to proper care. Those efforts include the robust array of HIV prevention and care programs offered through the foundation’s mid-Market headquarters, serving people in the SOMA, Tenderloin, and Polk Street neighborhoods.
For more information about the free, local programs of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, visit www.sfaf.org.
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. At San Francisco AIDS Foundation, we work to end the epidemic where it first took hold, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. Through education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease. We refuse to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.