The CDC NPIN Featured Partner resource offers HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD, and TB prevention-focused organizations a platform to showcase their services, programs, and materials. Our goal is to highlight the work of CDC's prevention partners and encourage partners to connect with each other to share information and strategies. Organizations are nominated by CDC or their peers, or are self-nominated. Those selected are featured on the NPIN Web site for the month.
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) works to end the epidemic where it first took hold and, eventually, everywhere. Established in 1982, its mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. Through education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care, SFAF is confronting HIV in the communities most vulnerable to the disease.
SFAF has three ambitious goals for 2015, which include reducing by 50 percent the number of new HIV infections in San Francisco, ensuring that all San Franciscans know their current HIV status, and ensuring access to proper HIV care for all San Franciscans who need it.
SFAF is expanding local services for HIV prevention and care in the neighborhoods most impacted by the disease. Below is a summary of the various categories of its work. It's worth noting that as evidence mounts about the links between HIV prevention, treatment, and addressing co-factors of HIV infection such as substance abuse, the lines between these categories are increasingly blurred.
Prevention: Support Groups for 1,500 African-Americans, Latinos, newly diagnosed men, and guys interested in service projects to improve the community via the Stop AIDS Project.
Care: Case management and peer advocacy services, housing assistance, and financial benefits counseling for more than 550 people living with HIV/AIDS.
Gay Men's Health: Free services and more than 10,000 HIV tests completed annually at Magnet, the gay men's health center in the heart of the Castro, and an HIV testing van that delivers services citywide.
Needle Exchange: 2.4 million sterile syringes distributed annually to people who inject drugs, HIV and hepatitis C testing, and referrals to drug treatment and social services.
Substance Use and Mental Health: Education, counseling, and support for 500 clients via The Stonewall Project, connecting the dots between HIV, substance use, and mental health.
Public Policy: A powerful voice for people at risk for or living with HIV to public officials at City Hall, in Sacramento, and in our nation's capital.
Education: Free online resources, publications, and community forums on HIV prevention, testing, and care, and breaking news in science, policy, and clinical research.
SFAF also works in partnership with peer organizations throughout the city to expand the reach and impact of its efforts. In addition to 13 ongoing partnerships for service delivery across San Francisco, it offers funding to organizations in the community through two funding programs. For more information, visit www.sfaf.org.
Last summer, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the San Francisco Department of
Public Health, ISIS, and a coalition of partners introduced an innovative
multimedia effort to encourage gay and bisexual men to test regularly for HIV
and make frequent HIV testing the social norm in the community.
“Many Shades of Gay” celebrates the diversity of the gay community and
focuses on one simple message: No matter what you’re into, get an HIV test every
At the heart of the effort is an interactive and educational website that invites users to create a personalized avatar—a tiny, digital version of themselves. Described as “the most robust avatar generator ever built,” it contains literally billions of customization options, including wardrobe, accessories, tattoos, and piercings—allowing gay and bisexual men to create an avatar as conservative or campy as they desire. Once an avatar is created, it informs the user about the importance of regular HIV testing and helps them to find the nearest testing location. The website also allows users to opt in to receive reminders via e-mail or text from their avatar when it’s time to get another HIV test or STI screening. The site also includes a channel for HIV-positive guys, which provides health information and resources to connect them to HIV treatment and care.
The campaign launched in June 2012, to coincide with gay pride events and National HIV Testing Day. In the first phase of “Many Shades of Gay,” avatars blanketed San Francisco on billboards, buses, metro stations, the internet, and social media. Once users create their avatars, they are invited to keep the campaign going by sharing it through social media channels and inviting friends to join the effort. For National HIV Testing Day, there was a specific call to action for individuals to share their avatars on social media to help the coalition create an army of avatars to show individuals’ commitments to regular testing. A second wave is planned for fall 2012.
So far, this outreach effort has led to more than 7,000 unique website visitors visiting the campaign website with an average visit time of 5.5 minutes; more than 700 users downloading avatars for social media; more than 500 users entering in their ZIP codes on the website’s testing site locator; and more than 40 users signing up to receive texting reminders. A large part of the successful outreach effort was being featured in a variety of blogs and publications.
While in the past year the San Francisco Department of Public Health has worked hard to scale up the supply of HIV tests throughout the city, it is still too early to determine if and how this public health social marketing campaign has impacted the demand for HIV tests among gay and bisexual men living in San Francisco. SFAF expects to know more about specific evaluation results later this fall or spring.
Whether you’re HIV negative or HIV positive, see the campaign and create an avatar by visiting www.ManyShadesOfGay.org. Create your own special avatar to share through your social media channels to let everyone know your commitment to regular testing.
SFAF invites community partners to join them! All creative is available rights-free to any interested organization to adopt for your HIV testing promotion efforts. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
1035 Market Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
View SFAF’s listing in NPIN’s Organizations database
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