The City of San Francisco announced it would commit an additional $1.7 million to the Getting to Zero program, which aims to tackle HIV and AIDS in the city.
The city of San Francisco will appropriate $1.7 million to support the city’s Getting to Zero initiative, a program that seeks to make the Bay City the first one in the nation to be completely free of HIV and AIDS. According to a report from SF Gate, mayor Ed Lee announced on Thursday that the city will contribute $1.2 million to fund the initiative. The city’s contribution will be supplemented by a $500,000 donation from the MAC AIDS Fund, the charity arm of the cosmetics company.
Lee said that the initiative seeks to prevent new infections, bring the death toll from HIV and AIDS down to zero, and remove the stigma associated with the disease. The project aims to reduce HIV transmission and HIV-related deaths by 90 percent by the year 2020. Lee added that he was confident that the epidemic could end in our lifetime.
The city has already committed a total of $54 million to HIV and AIDS research, care and prevention in the San Francisco area this year alone. The additional funding announced on Thursday will help support staff members who reach out to people with the virus or other high-risk individuals to let them know about available health services.
The initiative began last year and primarily focuses on increasing access to the drug PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which helps prevent the transmission of HIV. The program links people up with treatment options on the same day they are diagnosed, and makes sure that people continue seeking treatment.
According to Dr. Diane Havlir, the chief of the UCSF Division of HIV/AIDS at the San Francisco General Hospital, fighting HIV and AIDS in San Francisco has come a long way, but there remains much work to be done. The rate of new infections within the city has dropped from its peak yearly level of 2,332 in 1992 to just 302 last year.