We fought for HIV funding in San Francisco, and we won

Here's a short summary of a few key HIV funding initiatives included in SF's city budget for 2021-2022.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s HIV Advocacy Network (HAN) is a grassroots group of activists in the San Francisco Bay Area fighting to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and improve the lives of communities impacted by HIV. We are passionate about creating a more just world and organize around a number of issues affecting our community. For instance, we fight for more access to essential healthcare services and affordable housing, and we advocate for public policy solutions that respect the dignity of everyone from long-term HIV survivors to people who use drugs. 

Just last month (June 2021), we advocated for equity for HIV communities in the San Francisco city budget. We mobilized throughout the month by hosting a town hall on the San Francisco budget process to build people power and community support for crucial initiatives affecting our community. We organized constituents to meet with each of the Board of Supervisors individually to share their stories. We launched an email campaign where over 150 community members emailed the Board of Supervisors to advocate for these crucial initiatives, and rallied a group of activists to record and submit public comment videos for the Board of Supervisors budget hearing

The San Francisco budget was recently finalized, and funding for a number of key initiatives was included in the budget. These funding increases would not have happened without community pressure. Together, we took action and achieved some real wins for our community! 

Here’s a short summary of what has been funded. If you’re interested in learning more and getting involved in future advocacy, join HAN by texting RESIST to 52886. 

HIV Housing Subsidies: VICTORY! 

Amount funded: $750,000

Housing is healthcare, which is why we advocated for this funding which will be spent on housing subsidies for people living with HIV. Our goal is to house 1500 individuals living with HIV over the next five years. 

Mental Health for Long-Term Survivors: VICTORY!

Amount funded: $200,000

Long-term survivors can face unique mental health challenges from trauma caused by living through the HIV epidemic, and intersectional issues of poverty, depression, housing insecurity, and more. There is a significant unmet need, which is why we advocated for funding to expand and coordinate mental health services in San Francisco. 

Preserve the HIV Care Safety Net: VICTORY!

Amount funded: $340,000

We advocated for funding to backfill any and all federal level HIV funding reductions. This funding will go to preserve and strengthen HIV care and services for people regardless of income or ability to pay. 

Preserve the HIV Prevention Safety Net: VICTORY!

Existing Funding Extended 

The city’s Getting to Zero efforts have brought new HIV infections to record lows. We fought to preserve funding that would help us continue the momentum in getting to zero new HIV infections, by helping bring HIV prevention services such as PrEP to people at risk for HIV infection. 

Overdose Prevention Site: FIGHT CONTINUES

As San Francisco faces an unprecedented spike in fatal overdoses, Overdose Prevention Services, or safer consumption services (SCS) could help us reduce the number of fatal overdoses. We cannot wait any longer to implement these vital services and to save lives. 

If you’re interested in this issue, sign the petition to bring safer consumption services (overdose prevention sites) to San Francisco. 

Celebrate with us!

This upcoming Monday July 26 we’re going to be celebrating at Detour Restaurant and Arcade Bar. Join us between 6:30 pm – 8 pm for snacks, games and fun times! Check out our event on Facebook for more information.

Join us! 

There’s still work to be done. We’re a grassroots group that meets virtually and in-person to fight for services, funding, and causes that are important to our community. Join us by texting RESIST to 52886. We’ll send you easy ways to get involved and make your voice heard. 

About the author

Ande Stone

Ande Stone is the community mobilization manager at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He leads community organizing and digital mobilization efforts to mobilize grassroots community power around federal, state and local policy responses to the HIV epidemic.