SAN FRANCISCO, October 24, 2013—San Francisco AIDS Foundation is set to create the first-ever home for health and wellness for gay and bisexual men in San Francisco, located at 474 Castro Street. The start of major construction follows today’s decision by the San Francisco Planning Commission to grant the foundation the conditional use permit required for a project of this nature in the Castro neighborhood.
“Today the Planning Commission moved our city one step closer to being the first in the nation to end the HIV epidemic” said Neil Giuliano, foundation CEO. “With eighty percent of new HIV infections happening among gay and bi men in the city right now, we know that to truly end the disease we must first stop it among gay and bi men. It will take all of us working together to get there, and I believe the project that was approved today can be the cornerstone of this renewed community-wide vision.”
The ground-breaking facility, to be located in the heart of the Castro neighborhood, will establish an innovative model for the current and future response to HIV/AIDS—one built around health and wellness, not sickness and disease. It will combine a forward-thinking sexual health clinic, behavioral interventions for substance use and mental health, and grassroots prevention outreach to ensure gay and bi men in San Francisco are seamlessly linked to and maintained in care services and community support. To achieve this enhanced network, three of the foundation’s existing programs sited in the Castro—Magnet, Stonewall Project, and Stop AIDS Project—will be co-located at the center and new services will be added for populations where there remain significant unmet needs, including young gay and bi men of color and older gay men, both HIV positive and HIV negative.
Interior demolition has already begun on the site at 474 Castro Street. Major exterior construction is expected get underway in late November or early December. The home for health and wellness is expected to begin serving clients in summer of 2014. Neighbors and interested community members can find more information about the project and regular updates as the construction progresses at www.474Castro.org.
The new 14,700 square-foot Castro-based service center will be the second major service hub operated by San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The foundation will continue to operate from its headquarters located at Market and Sixth Streets. In recent years, it has expanded services in that location to meet the growing needs of a range of clients in the SOMA and Tenderloin neighborhoods, including marginally housed populations, women, transgendered individuals, African Americans, monolingual Spanish-speakers, and people who inject drugs.
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. For more information, go to www.sfaf.org.