San Francisco

People Living with HIV

With an estimated 15,901 people living with HIV/AIDS, San Francisco has one of the largest HIV-positive populations in the United States.

Of the total number of San Franciscans living with HIV/AIDS, 9,634 were living with AIDS at the end of 2013. AIDS is a late stage of HIV disease defined by a low count of CD4 cells.

Gay and bisexual men of all ages and ethnicities continue to bear the brunt of the disease: Almost one in four gay or bisexual men in San Francisco is living with HIV and 86% of new HIV diagnoses are among gay and bisexual men.

Newly Diagnosed

In 2013, there were 359 newly diagnosed HIV cases. Data from prior years indicate this number is trending downward.

Of those newly diagnosed with HIV in 2013, nine in 10 (91%) identified as male, 86 percent were men who have sex with other men, a majority (54%) were between 30-49 years old, and 46 percent were white.

In the last five years, the share of Latinos (21% in 2009 to 25% in 2013), Asian/Pacific Islanders (8% to 14%), and people aged 25-29 years (13% to 22%) among new HIV diagnoses has increased.

African Americans are disproportionately represented among new HIV infections: Twelve percent of new diagnoses were among African Americans in 2013, while only six percent of San Francisco’s population is African American.

Neighborhoods showing the most new HIV diagnoses are located in central parts of the city in the Castro, Western Addition, Tenderloin, South of Market, and Mission. Not only did the Castro have the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses with 437 new cases per 100,000 people, its rate was more than twice as high as the Tenderloin (199 per 100,000 people) and South of Market (181 per 100,000 people).


Nearly half (49%) of all newly diagnosed people living with HIV are not engaged in ongoing proper care more than six months after their first medical visit.

Of those living with HIV receiving treatment and regular medical care in San Francisco, 88 percent have their virus under control (also known as viral suppression) compared to 76 percent nationally. Viral suppression is associated with better health outcomes and less likelihood of passing the virus to others.

Looking at neighborhoods and the number of people living with HIV who are virally suppressed, the Tenderloin has the lowest percentage of people living with HIV who had their virus under control (58%).

Survival after AIDS diagnosis is worse for African Americans than for other racial/ethnic groups. The five-year survival probability among people diagnosed with AIDS between 2001 and 2013 was 78 percent for African Americans compared to 85 percent for whites, 87 percent for Latinos, and 91 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders.

In 2013, more than 50 percent of those living with HIV in San Francisco were over fifty years old. A decade ago, only 30 percent of those living with HIV were over fifty.


In 2013, 182 people died from AIDS-related causes in San Francisco. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the city has lost 19,992 people to the disease. Peak mortality occurred in the year 1992 with 2,331 deaths.


In California, an estimated 134,158 people are living with HIV/AIDS.

Of the total number of Californians living with HIV/AIDS, an estimated 74,059 were living with AIDS at the end of June 2014.

In 2012, there were 5,814 newly diagnosed HIV cases in California.

As of June 2014, the state has lost 95,529 people who had an AIDS diagnoses. These deaths may or may not have been related to AIDS.

United States

In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Of those, an estimated 504,957 were living with AIDS at the end of 2011.

In 2012, there were 47,989 newly diagnosed HIV cases in the United States. This number has remained relatively stable since 2008.

As of 2011, approximately 648,459 people who had an AIDS diagnoses have died. These deaths may or may not have been related to AIDS.



California Office of AIDS, AIDS Surveillance Report (as of June 2014).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vital Signs: HIV Diagnosis, Care, and Treatment Among Persons Living with HIV – United States, 2011. MMWR 2014; 63 (47): 1113-1117.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV Surveillance Report, 2012; vol. 24.

San Francisco Department of Public Health, HIV Epidemiology Section. HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Annual Report 2013.

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