By Neil Giuliano, CEO
On this World AIDS Day we witnessed something historic. In a rare joint appearance, President Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all took part in a special event to discuss strategies for ending the epidemic around the world and here within our own borders. It was a powerful moment — three influential leaders reminding everyone around the globe that HIV/AIDS still deserves our urgent attention.
On this World AIDS Day, I ask that you take a moment to remember all the loved ones we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS over the last 30 years. I ask you to reflect on the tremendous progress we’ve made in recent years in the fight against the disease. I ask you to look forward, because the knowledge and interventions we now have at our disposal truly put the end of AIDS within our grasp.
San Francisco can be the first U.S. city to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That’s why, with your support, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is dramatically expanding services for prevention and care in hard-hit communities. Here are just a few changes we’re making that we believe will help us end the epidemic:
• Doubling the number of HIV tests and sexually transmitted infection screenings we provide annually in the Castro to more than 10,000
• Intensifying local partnerships with peer organizations to strengthen the network of referrals, care, and support for people at risk for and living with HIV to ensure no one slips through the cracks
• Launching a city-wide campaign to increase status awareness and encourage routine HIV testing among hard-hit local communities
• Expanding substance use counseling and support to include alcohol problems in two locations — San Francisco’s Tenderloin/South of Market and Castro neighborhoods, both known “hot spots” for HIV infection
• Spearheading efforts to create a California HIV/AIDS Strategy to enhance systems of care and prevention
The end of AIDS is within our sights. Now is the time for all of us to follow the leads of Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton and seize on a tremendous climate of opportunity. It is time to look forward, to keep pushing the envelope, to redouble our efforts, to invest in our communities, to encourage new research, and to give care to people who need it most. To make all of that happen, we need you.
Your loyal support of San Francisco AIDS Foundation is making a real difference and helping us achieve our goals. I see it every day. On behalf of all our staff and clients, I thank you for standing with us.
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