San Francisco is aiming to become the first AIDS- free city in the US. Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco has announced that they will take measures in preventing new HIV infections from emerging in the city.
An ongoing initiative called 'Getting to Zero program' is aimed at making the city the first in the country to be free of AIDS and HIV infections. Mayor has announced that the city will dedicate $1.7 million funds to support this initiative.
"We want to have no new infections, we want to have no preventable deaths and we certainly want to have no stigma. We have created the Getting to Zero campaign to cut HIV transmissions and HIV-related deaths by 90 percent by 2020. We can, in our lifetime, end this epidemic for everyone," said Lee.
To make this goal come true, the city has already contributed $54 million to HIV/AIDS prevention and care for San Francisco residents. The fund will help support staff members to reach out to people who have contracted the virus or who are at high risk and may be reluctant to seek medical and mental health services.
The initiative aims to make the HIV drug regimen known as PrEP, more accessible to people through the city's treatment program. It will provide services to people on the same day of diagnosis.
Remarkably, the rates of new infections in the San Francisco city has dropped dramatically over the past two decades. Even it marked low number of diagnoses in the last year.
"We've made a lot of progress in San Francisco, but it's not over. More work needs to be done to engage people who are hard to reach, particularly African American gay men, who have the highest rates of new diagnoses, as well as young people, intravenous drug users and women, including transgender women," said Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the UCSF Division of HIV/AIDS at San Francisco General Hospital.
MAC AIDS, one of the largest and oldest AIDS nonprofits in the country will also donate $100,000 to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
"What we say at MAC is, if you can sell a lipstick, you can save a life. We want to save a lot of lives," said Karen Buglisi, global brand president for MAC.