What We Do

San Francisco AIDS Foundation works at the federal, state, and local levels to stop the spread of HIV, and to protect the health and human rights of people and communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Federal Advocacy

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is one of the nation’s leading voices on national HIV-related policy issues. We are actively involved in the implementation of the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the formulation of HIV/AIDS components of national health care reform legislation.

Other current federal priorities include increasing funding to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and supporting efforts to expand care and treatment access for people living with HIV through Medicaid expansion.

We are also engaged in the annual federal budget and appropriations process to ensure adequate funding for medical care, drug treatments, and crucial support services through the Ryan White program. The foundation also advocates for appropriate funding and programmatic initiatives in HIV prevention at CDC, AIDS research at NIH and housing services provided through the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

In 2011, we led community efforts to modernize the distribution of resources through HOPWA. We also worked closely with the CDC to establish guidance on how to administer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), in which HIV-negative people take antiretroviral medication daily to reduce their chances of becoming infected with HIV.

In 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2009, San Francisco AIDS Foundation played a leadership role within the Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief (CAEAR) Coalition to successfully reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act for five more years. The foundation also worked extensively to help Medicare-eligible people with HIV/AIDS understand and access their Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Benefits, and has advocated for the fullest possible coverage, at no or low cost, for people entering this program.

Since 1998, the foundation has secured substantial new funding for the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, which seeks to reduce racial disparities in HIV-related health outcomes by strengthening the organizational infrastructure and service capacity of minority community-based organizations. The federal government currently provides nearly $400 million in targeted funding for the initiative.

State Advocacy

Together with partners from throughout the state, San Francisco AIDS Foundation works to ensure that the governor and legislature provide state funding to augment federal support of essential HIV prevention and care efforts. The foundation sponsors and responds to state legislation that affects the health and civil rights of people living with or at risk for HIV and monitors state programs such as Medi-Cal to assure that an appropriate health safety net exists that meets the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The agency is active in the development of state policies to increase Californians’ awareness of their HIV status and enhance opportunities for early and more effective treatment. Such policies include legislation to increase the capacity of public health departments and community clinics to conduct rapid HIV testing, require all health insurance plans to cover the cost of HIV testing, and improve the accuracy of HIV case reporting to local and state health officials.

We are particularly focused on securing full annual funding of the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides access to life-saving HIV medications for tens of thousands of low-income Californians. Our efforts have successfully prevented any cuts to California's ADAP program.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is also a leader in developing state laws to provide access to sterile syringes, a proven method for reducing the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C among injection drug users and their sexual partners. We recently co-sponsored and helped pass game-changing legislation to allow all Californians to purchase up to 30 syringes at a pharmacy without a prescription, making access to sterile syringes much easier across the state.

Local Advocacy

San Francisco is one of the cities hardest hit by HIV/AIDS and has been an epicenter since the earliest days of the epidemic. Since it was first established in 1982, San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been committed to partnering with the city and county of San Francisco in adopting model policies to address HIV/AIDS.

In the current economic downturn, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is working to protect funding for local HIV health programs that have been proven medically effective and cost-efficient. For example, housing continues to be one of the most significant unmet needs of people living with HIV in San Francisco. The foundation is the city’s largest provider of rental support for low-income people with HIV/AIDS through funding provided by the city’s Department of Public Health. We actively advocate for maximum federal funding of housing programs as well as for city support to provide housing assistance to low-income people living with HIV and AIDS.

The foundation works closely with San Francisco’s mayor and Department of Public Health to maximize federal funding for the city’s world-renowned medical care, prevention, housing, and social services programs for people living with or at risk for HIV. This includes advocacy to ensure that provisions of the federal Ryan White program support the strongest possible response to the epidemic in San Francisco and to secure the highest possible levels of annual federal and state appropriations for HIV/AIDS programs.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation also works extensively with the city to strengthen HIV prevention efforts. In 1993, at the urging of San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other needle exchange advocates, city leaders approved the state’s first government-authorized syringe access program to reduce HIV infection among injection drug users. Since that time, the foundation has provided leadership at the state level to ensure the legality of syringe access programs as well as to permit pharmacies to sell syringes to adults without a prescription.

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