Mayor Mark Farrell Announces Funding to Backfill Federal Cuts to HIV/AIDS Services
Upcoming two-year budget will feature an additional $4.2 million to backfill critical needs
Mayor Mark Farrell today announced that his two-year budget will include more than $4 million additional funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and health services programs, helping to backfill local and federal funds for critical services. The Mayor’s investment brings the amount of HIV/AIDS funding San Francisco has backfilled to $16.3 million since the 2013 fiscal year.
“We have made remarkable advances in reducing HIV infections and improving the lives of people living with HIV, but we must continue to fight against this ongoing public health threat,” said Mayor Farrell. “I am committed to fighting this disease, and am ensuring that our local government maintains funding levels for critical programs.”
The City’s HIV/AIDS budget totals $59.5 million to cover prevention, health care services, and outreach and engagement. While San Francisco has dramatically reduced its overall HIV/AIDS disease burden, the city is redoubling efforts to reduce persistent disparities among communities of color, trans communities and youth.
The Mayor’s budget includes $2.8 million over two years to backfill losses from federal spending cuts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those funds will pay for disease surveillance and prevention programs, HIV testing and coordination of syringe access and disposal programs, among other initiatives.
Additionally, the Mayor’s budget will include $1.4 million over two years to backfill expiring funds for the City’s Getting to Zero initiative, a multi-sector collaborative involving community-based organizations, the Department of Public Health, and UCSF, among others. The goal of Getting to Zero, which began in 2014, is for San Francisco to reach zero new HIV infections, zero HIV-associated deaths and zero stigma and discrimination by 2025.
The $1.4 million will support outreach, prevention and treatment programs tailored to serve people experiencing the greatest HIV disparities -- African American and Latino men, youth and trans women. It will also fund employment and food security programs for people living with HIV.
San Francisco has made great strides in reducing HIV diagnoses since the AIDS crisis first devastated the City in the 1980s. New HIV diagnoses fell to a record-low of 223 in 2016, down from a peak of 2,332 at the height of epidemic in 1992. There are more than 16,000 individuals living with HIV in the city, 26 percent of those individuals of whom are over the age of 60. Through the success of syringe access and disposal programs, new HIV infections among people who use injection drugs continue to drop, reaching a low of 38 in 2016.
“San Francisco has pledged to Get to Zero in the battle against HIV/AIDS,” said Barbara Garcia, San Francisco Health Director. “Thanks to major accomplishments in care and medication, along with syringe access, community partnerships and world-class research, we are in a good position to reach that goal. But we won’t get there if we don’t fix the disparities that impact African American, Latino and homeless people in our city. This funding boosts our ability to reach these communities and tailor outreach, prevention and treatment to meet their needs.”
Getting to Zero focuses on increasing access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophlaxis) for HIV negative people, immediately connecting people who test HIV positive to treatment, and retaining those already in care. Homeless individuals and injection drug users are at high risk for new infections, which is why syringe access and disposal remains a cornerstone of the City’s HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.
“As co-founder of SF’s Getting to Zero Consortium, I am heartened by the funding to sustain existing efforts and continue our innovative GTZ initiatives so we can meet our ambitious targets for 2020, including getting below 50 new transmissions. I applaud Mayor Farrell for continuing San Francisco’s historic commitment to lead in the fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and ‘Get to Zero’,” said Supervisor Sheehy.
Along with backfilling programs affected by federal cuts, Mayor Farrell’s budget will continue to support key initiatives, including measures to reduce HIV infections for individuals experiencing homelessness, outreach efforts to decrease disparities among African American and Latino men and new programs to provide health care for middle-aged and elderly individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
“We are enormously grateful for this investment which is smart, strategic and reflects San Francisco’s commitment to the health of its community,” said Dr. Diane Havlir, chair of the UCSF division of HIV/AIDS at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and a member of the Getting to Zero steering committee. “Without this funding, our momentum in Getting to Zero San Francisco would be lost. With it, our goals remain within reach.”
“Mayor Farrell’s commitment to backfilling federal cuts to HIV services helps ensure the continuation of the safety net for people living with HIV in San Francisco. We are proud of San Francisco’s historic response to the AIDS epidemic. We will work hard with City leaders to advance the City’s goals of getting to zero new HIV infections, zero HIV-related deaths, and zero HIV stigma,” said Bill Hirsh, Co-Chair, HIV/AIDS Provider Network (HAPN).