San Francisco reaches record low number of HIV diagnoses

New HIV diagnoses in San Francisco reached a record low and there's been an improvement in care outcomes, however, disparities by race, gender, and housing status remain prevalent, according to a new study. 

Data from the 2018 Annual HIV Epidemiology Report shows encouraging trends towards achieving San Francisco's goal of zero new HIV infections, the city says. 

In 2018, there were 197 new infections, down 13 percent from the previous year in which there were 227 new diagnoses. 

"The results of the Annual HIV report are encouraging and show that we are on our way to Getting to Zero new infections," said Mayor Breed. "That said, we know that some San Franciscans need additional care and outreach in order to receive the treatment they need. Our health care professionals and community partners will continue working to reduce disparities among populations and improve HIV care for everyone in our City." 

The number of new infections increased among four groups: people who inject drugs, people experiencing homelessness, African Americans and Latinos.  

"We've made enormous strides toward our Getting to Zero goals," Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said. "But the increase in new diagnoses among injection drug users, African Americans, Latinx and unhoused people is deeply troubling," he said.


Number of persons newly diagnosed with HIV by race/ethnicity, 2009-2018 in SF

To strengthen outreach, prevention, and care, the Department of Public Health is allocating  $8 million to community organizations to address the disparities identified in the report.  

Active efforts by the city already underway to prevent HIV infection include increasing access to PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, outreach that connects homeless people and those who inject drugs to health services and a new clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 86, that offers care for patients living with HIV.

Bay City News reporter Daniel Montes contributed to this report.