Meet Lara Brooks

Last summer, I made the cross-country move from Chicago to San Francisco and joined San Francisco AIDS Foundation as vice president of programs, to lead the  programs and services we deliver to the community.

For the past 10 months, I’ve been honored to work alongside incredibly devoted and talented staff, volunteers and community partners to work on some of our city’s toughest problems—HIV and hepatitis C transmission, PrEP access among people most at risk, and serving people who experience homelessness or are otherwise marginalized with social and health services.

For LGBTQ Pride month this year, I’m celebrating not only the LGBTQ community’s legacy of HIV activism and movement building, but all that the foundation has accomplished in recent months.

I’m inspired by how San Francisco AIDS Foundation, in collaboration with other nonprofits and the public health department, is stepping up to tackle problems related to health disparities. With the East Bay AIDS Center and API Wellness Center, we’re increasing access to testing, PrEP, and health navigation among trans people and communities of color – not only here in San Francisco, but across the Bay Area. As a city, we’re just starting the conversation about safer consumption spaces for people who use drugs. And we’re ramping up better access to hepatitis C testing and navigation services both at the foundation and across the city.

I’m proud that San Francisco has programs like the Stonewall Project and impressed by how our team brings life-affirming substance health services to those exploring their relationships and histories with substances. The flexibility, the “meet you where you are” philosophy and the love they bring to people who use drugs is empathetic and realistic—and evidence-based. 

I must also make a special mention of Latino Programs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This program, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, serves hundreds of Latinx people, including undocumented people and Latinx in different stages of the immigration process. In recent months, this program has provided community and solidarity to people directly impacted by anti-immigrant executive orders and threats to sanctuary cities across the country.

One accomplishment I’m most proud in the last year is our commitment to ramping up and expanding services hours at our 6th Street Harm Reduction Center. We’ve made great strides in fully activating this space in the Tenderloin/SoMa neighborhood, to provide essential harm reduction services to thousands of people every year.  In looking at the months ahead, I’m excited to see how our services at 6th Street will continue to grow, evolve and deepen.

Supporting all of these initiatives is a dedicated group of volunteers who donate their time and experience to make sure we’re as successful as possible. You can read about them in this month’s issue of Status.  

Finally, I’d like to invite you to march with us in the San Francisco Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25, as we look back on our 35 years of service and embrace speak out as advocates for health care.

Thank you for your support of the foundation.

Lara Brooks

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