San Francisco

People Living with HIV

San Francisco has one of the largest HIV-positive populations in the United States with an estimated 15,995 people living with HIV.

Of the total number of San Franciscans living with HIV/AIDS, 9,454 were living with AIDS at the end of 2015. AIDS is a late-stage of HIV disease defined by a low count of CD4 cells or an opportunistic infection.

Gay and bisexual men of all ages and ethnicities continue to bear the brunt of the disease and 82% of new HIV diagnoses are among gay and bisexual men.

New Diagnoses

In 2014, there were 255 newly diagnosed HIV cases, a decrease in number from recent years.

Of those newly diagnosed with HIV in 2015, 88% identified as male, 82% were men who have sex with men, a majority (52%) were between 30-49 years old, and 42% were white.

In the past five years, there have been small increases in the proportion of Latinos (24% in 2010 to 26% in 2015) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (8% to 12%) who make up new HIV diagnoses. The proportion of new diagnoses among people ages 25 to 29 years increased from 16% in 2011 to 23% in 2015.

African-Americans are disproportionately represented among new HIV infections, with 17% of new diagnoses among African-Americans in 2015, while only 6% 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, Tenderloin, and South of Market. Not only did the Castro have the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses with 214 new cases per 100,000 people, its rate was more than three times the San Francisco average. Other high rates were reported in the Tenderloin (176 per 100,000 people) and South of Market (121 per 100,000 people).

HIV and AIDS Care

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of all newly diagnosed people living with HIV are engaged in ongoing proper care for three to nine months after their first medical visit.

Among all people living with HIV—whether diagnosed or not—67% have their virus under control (are virally suppressed) compared to 52% in California. Viral suppression is associated with better health outcomes and less likelihood of transmitting the virus to others.

On average, 75% of people newly diagnosed with HIV achieve viral suppression within a year of diagnosis in San Francisco. Neighborhoods that fall below this average include the Tenderloin (65%), Nob Hill (67%), Downtown and Excelsior (70%), and Pacific Heights and Visitacion Valley (71% each).

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 2006 and 2013 was 79% for African-Americans compared to 88% for whites, 90% for Latinos, and 92% for Asian/Pacific Islanders.

In 2015, 60% of those living with HIV in San Francisco were over fifty years old. A decade ago, in 2005, only 38% of those living with HIV were over fifty.


In California, an estimated 138,879 people were living with HIV and AIDS in 2014. About 91% (126,241 people) had been diagnosed, and 52% (71,683) had achieved viral suppression.

Younger people (between the ages of 13 and 24) had the lowest rates of viral suppression (45%) and people over the age of 65 had the highest rates (63%). Men were more likely to be virally suppressed than women (57% versus 53%) and white, Asian and multi-racial Californians were more likely to be virally suppressed than African American and Latino Californians.

United States

In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2012. About 13% (or about 1 in 8 people, or 156,300 people total) don’t know they’re infected.

About 50,000 people get infected with HIV each year in the U.S. In 2014, there were 44,073 newly diagnosed HIV cases in the United States. There has been a 19% decrease in new infections from 2005 to 2014.

In 2014, an estimated 20,896 people were diagnosed with AIDS. Since the epidemic began in the early 1980s, an estimated 1,210,835 people have been diagnosed with AIDS.


California Department of Public Health, Center for Infectious Diseases, Office of AIDS. The Continuum of HIV Care—California, 2014.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV in the United States: At A Glance. June 2016

San Francisco Department of Public Health Population Health Division. HIV Epidemiology Annual Report. 2015.

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