SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2013—San Francisco AIDS Foundation applauds Mayor Ed Lee and the board of supervisors for their leadership to restore all federal funding cuts to HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs in San Francisco.
"Once again the mayor and the supervisors have taken leadership action despite considerable challenges at the federal level to avert devastating cuts to services that save lives and improve health for thousands of people in our community," said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "We have been making tremendous progress in recent years in our fight against HIV/AIDS in San Francisco, and by restoring the cuts our city leaders have demonstrated their extraordinary leadership and longstanding commitment to ensure that we continue our forward momentum and move closer to ending the transmission of HIV in San Francisco once and for all."
San Francisco faced a cut of more than $7 million in funding to services provided through Ryan White and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs. At San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the cuts would have resulted in reductions to substance use and mental health counseling services, assistance for clients to access HIV care, and prevention programs for Latinos at risk for HIV. Mayor Lee appropriated funds from the city's budget back fill part of the cuts, and the board of supervisors restored the remainder of the cuts in the budget it passed last night in committee. The budget will be formally approved July 16.
"We thank the mayor and the board of supervisors, particularly Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos, for making sure these important and effective programs are fully funded," said Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, director of state and local affairs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "These cuts would have impacted some of our city's most vulnerable citizens, but our leaders again continued our city's proud tradition of prioritizing HIV/AIDS services and making sure all people have access to proper care."
There are nearly 16,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. Only 50% of newly diagnosed people in the city achieve viral suppression within 12 months of diagnosis, which is substantially greater than national rates but still shows significant unmet needs for linking and retaining people in HIV medical care. Additionally, individuals over the age of 50 now make up the fastest-growing age category of people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco.
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 sfaf.org.