SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To mark World AIDS Day and raise awareness about the ongoing epidemic, San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco Ferry Building, War Memorial Opera House, and War Memorial Veterans Building will be bathed in red light tonight.
"This is an important visible reminder to people across our city and around the world that HIV/AIDS still deserves our urgent attention," said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "The knowledge and interventions we now have at our disposal truly puts the end to HIV/AIDS within our grasp. It is time for our country to seize on this tremendous climate of opportunity and invest in the prevention and care services that will end this disease once and for all."
Everyday in San Francisco there are approximately two new HIV infections, and gay and bisexual men, particularly those of color, are disproportionately impacted by the disease. Over 19,000 people in San Francisco have died from the disease and close to 7,000 people are infected with HIV annually in California. Of the estimated 1.2 million people living with the disease in the United States, recent data suggest that nearly three out of four lack proper care.
"San Francisco is and always will be the model for fighting HIV/AIDS," said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. "On this World AIDS Day, we renew our City's commitment to continue to create innovative systems of care for those living with HIV/AIDS and renew our efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and save lives. I am confident San Francisco will remain the global leader in moving us closer to the day when we find a cure to HIV/AIDS."
San Francisco AIDS Foundation advocates for early and expanded access to antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV, a proven tool to prevent the spread of the disease to other people. The foundation also supports increasing investments in emerging biomedical tools, maintaining robust programs to address root contributors to new HIV infections such as alcohol and other substance use, and collaborating with government agencies and community partners to create seamless networks for care for people at risk for or living with HIV.
"Every year, many people ask what they can do to mark World AIDS Day," said Giuliano. "We encourage everyone to reflect, to support a local organization that's working to fight HIV/AIDS, to get involved and participate in charity events, and to be aware of their current HIV status so they are in control of their own health."
To learn more about the free local programs and services of San Francisco AIDS Foundation and where to get an HIV test, visit www.sfaf.org.
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. At San Francisco AIDS Foundation, we work to end the epidemic where it first took hold, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. Through education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease. We refuse to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable. For more information, go to www.sfaf.org.
Contact: Ryan McKeel
SOURCE San Francisco AIDS Foundation