San Francisco

People Living with HIV

San Francisco has one of the largest HIV-positive populations in the United States with an estimated 16,010 people living with HIV.

Of the total number of San Franciscans living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016, 9,347 were living with HIV ever classified as AIDS. 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 79% of new HIV diagnoses are among gay and bisexual men.

New Diagnoses

In 2016, there were 223 new HIV diagnoses, a decrease in number from recent years.

Of those newly diagnosed with HIV in 2016, 87% identified as male, 79% were men who have sex with men, a majority (57%) were between 25-39 years old, and 39% were white.

In the past five years, there have been small increases in the proportion of Latinos (20% in 2011 to 28% in 2016) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (8% to 15%) who make up new HIV diagnoses. The proportion of new diagnoses among people ages 25 to 29 years increased from 16% in 2011 to 24% in 2016.

African Americans are disproportionately represented among new HIV infections. While Black San Franciscans are only 6% of the city's population, they represented 15% of new diagnoses in 2016.

Neighborhoods showing the most new HIV diagnoses are located in central parts of the city in the Castro, Tenderloin, and South of Market. The Tenderloin had the highest newly diagnosed rate (181 per 100,000 people), followed by the Castro (177 per 100,000) and South of Market (131 per 100,000).

HIV and AIDS Care

More than half (64%) of all newly diagnosed people living with HIV are engaged in ongoing HIV care for three to nine months after their first medical visit.

Among all people diagnosed with HIV in San Francisco, 73% have their virus under control (are virally suppressed) compared to 63% in California. People who are virally suppressed have better health outcomes and do not transmit HIV to other people. 

On average, 74% of people newly diagnosed with HIV (with a current San Francisco address as of December 2014) were virally suppressed within a year of diagnosis in San Francisco. Neighborhoods that fall below this average include Visitacion Valley (67%), the Tenderloin, Nob Hill and Treasure Island (69% each), Excelsior (71%), Bayview (72%) and the Sunset and Ingleside (73% 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 2014 was 80% for African-Americans compared to 87% for whites, 90% for Latinos, and 92% for Asian/Pacific Islanders.

In 2016, 63% of those living with HIV in San Francisco were over 50 years old. In 2005, only 38% of those living with HIV were over 50.


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 1.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2012. About 14% (or about 1 in 7 people, or 157,000 people total) don’t know they’re infected.

There were an estimated 37,600 new HIV infections in 2014. There has been a 10% decrease in new infections from 2010 to 2014.

In 2015, an estimated 18,303 people were diagnosed with AIDS. Since the epidemic began in the early 1980s, an estimated 1,216,917 people have been diagnosed with AIDS. In 2014, there were 6,721 HIV-related deaths.


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. September 2017.

San Francisco Department of Public Health Population Health Division. HIV Epidemiology Annual Report. 2016.

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