SAN FRANCISCO, June 26, 2013 — Today the Supreme Court moved our nation closer to full equality for all citizens and advanced our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. San Francisco AIDS Foundation applauds the justices for striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and for ordering that the appeal to the decision overturning Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, be dismissed—paving the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California.
“This is a historic day not only for civil rights, but for the health of our country. Marriage equality plays a critical role in reducing the stigma and homophobia that often prevent LGBT people from seeking out the services they need to maintain their emotional and physical well-being,” said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “When we promote tolerance through marriage equality, we bring people in from the margins, we help them to feel more affirmed and connected, and risk taking decreases. When this happens, HIV infection rates also decrease.”
A study published in 2009 by Emory University finds that bans on same-sex marriage can be directly tied to a rise in rates of HIV infection. Researchers estimated that constitutional bans on gay marriage raise the infection rate by four cases per 100,000 people. There are currently 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 50,000 new HIV infections occur nationwide every year. The epidemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on gay and bisexual men, and racial and ethnic minorities.
“The justices, with their decisions, have torn down barriers to better health,” said Giuliano. “They have affirmed the values of this great nation by promoting inclusion, and their actions will ultimately result in better health outcomes for the people we serve.” San Francisco AIDS Foundation will hold a Real Talk forum on Thursday, July 11, to discuss what the court’s decisions mean, how they will impact LGBT culture and our personal relationships, and what other challenges lie ahead in the fight for full equality—including health, housing, and employment disparities in our community. The forum is free and open to the public and will be held from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at the LGBT Center at 1800 Market Street 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.