San Francisco AIDS Foundation works to end the HIV epidemic in the city where it began. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco because we refuse to accept HIV as inevitable. Through education, advocacy and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease.
We are guided by a strategic plan with three ambitious, interconnected goals aimed at reducing new HIV infections and helping people live longer, healthier lives.
Goal 1. Build healthier communities by fostering personal resilience and social support, increasing community engagement, and reducing harms associated with alcohol and other drugs.
We will build a community where HIV transmission is rare and where people living with HIV live long and healthy lives by establishing a holistic approach to health and wellness. Many factors contribute to HIV risk, and mental health challenges, social isolation and substance use may block access to HIV risk-reduction strategies. We will support our community to be empowered, to be personally resilient, and to build social coping skills that help overcome HIV risk.
To build healthier communities, we will offer community service projects, group-based support, and peer-based assistance and emotional support. We will sponsor social and cultural events, community forums and volunteer opportunities that increase a sense of community belonging. We will conduct street-based outreach, mobile testing, and access to sterile syringes. We will provide targeted health education on how alcohol and drugs are linked to HIV transmission and increased health risk, treatment programs for substance use, and harm reduction information about the benefits of safer alcohol and drug use.
Goal 2. Reduce new HIV diagnoses in San Francisco to fewer than 100 per year.
Community-wide initiatives and new scientifically-proven biomedical interventions have lowered HIV infection rates in San Francisco to historic lows: 359 new diagnoses occurred in San Francisco in 2013. By 2019, we will reduce new HIV diagnoses to fewer than 100 per year in San Francisco. We commit to collaborations within and beyond our community, with partners in research, clinical and public health; with local, state and federal governments; and with donors, volunteers and other stakeholders.
Together, we will expand HIV testing, STI screening and treatment, access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), condom distribution efforts, linkage to and retention in HIV medical care and treatment, and access to and disposal of safer drug-use equipment. We will conduct outreach to sexual networks of the recently diagnosed, HIV health education initiatives, substance use health education and counseling, and HIV risk reduction counseling.
Goal 3. Improve the health and lifespan of San Franciscans living with HIV.
With effective HIV treatment, a person living with HIV can improve their health and lifespan by achieving “viral suppression,” a level of the virus so low that it is undetectable in the bloodstream. By 2019, we will increase the percentage of San Franciscans living with HIV who are virally suppressed to at least 80 percent (an increase from 62 percent in 2012).
In order to increase viral suppression, our work will focus on reducing barriers that prevent people from getting into and staying in HIV care by working with public health agencies and care providers. We will provide practical assistance with housing, mental health concerns, substance use, medication adherence, peer support and HIV-specific health concerns through case management and health navigation services. We will provide education through seminars and health initiatives, and we will increase cultural competency among providers.