San Francisco is trying to pioneer the way in the fight against HIV AIDS.
On Thursday, Mayor Ed Lee and other city leaders announced a new plan - and a lot more money to dedicate to the problem.
They announced their “Getting to Zero” goal for San Francisco, where they intend to see zero new HIV infections, zero deaths and zero stigma surrounding a disease that reared its ugly head in the 1980s.
Lee and Board of Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos stood along side executives from Mac AIDS Fund, which announced a donation of half a million dollars to the campaign. That’s in addition to the $1.2 million in new funding for “Getting to Zero.” This money is beinging added to the roughly $54 million the supervisors have already committed to HIV/AIDS prevention and care for this fiscal year.
The money means a lot to Johanna Brown, a trans woman who was diagnosed with HIV in 1988 and AIDS in 1995. She said she lost everything including her job, apartment and will to live. But after getting help from San Francisco, she can see real change in the near future for her and all those impacted by the disease. Now, she's gotten the help she's needed.
"I'm living a healthy life," she said. "Getting down to zero is something I can see."
Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of Bridge HIV and the San Francisco Department of Public Health said the numbers in terms of AIDs patients are promising, but “we think now is the time we can get down to zero, because of great breakthroughs in prevention and treatment. If we can get those together and synergize, we can get to zero.”
The goal of the project is to reduce HIV transmission and HIV related deaths in San Francisco by 90 percent before 2020.