By Liz Pesch, Chief Financial Officer
March is Women’s History Month, a celebration of the vital contributions of women throughout history. International Women’s Day (March 8), a day with a strong call to action to press forward and progress gender parity, is quickly followed by National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10), a day to mobilize our communities to advocate for the rights to health care for women and girls.
During this time, we at San Francisco AIDS Foundation are reminded of the women who we lost and those who responded in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Further, we renew our commitment to serving women living with and at risk for HIV today and to supporting women who continue leading efforts to end this epidemic.
Each year, San Francisco AIDS Foundation welcomes more than 25,000 people through our doors. Many are women who face unique health risks and barriers to prevention and care, including domestic abuse, substance use, discrimination, and access to affordable housing. The rate at which African-American women, in particular, are being diagnosed with HIV is alarming.
For so many of the women we serve, having a safe place to access care is a priority. Every day, women access services at our 6th Street Harm Reduction Center and through programs like the Black Health Center of Excellence and TransLife. Our services seek to promote the health of women, connect them to community resources, and restore their dignity and confidence.
These programs are absolutely essential in our broader strategy of “Getting to Zero” — making San Francisco the first major city to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero HIV stigma. Most importantly, these programs offer a system of support and a source of hope.
The best way to fight HIV is to know your status. A simple test can determine if you are infected with the virus.
Our diverse programs help thousands of people every year. From testing to prevention to care, our services assist communities where need is greatest.