From its inception in 1983, Ward 86 has played a pivotal role in HIV/AIDS treatment. As one of the first outpatient clinics devoted to caring for people living with HIV, it revolutionized care at UC San Francisco, in San Francisco, across the nation and around the world.
Ward 86 turns 40 this year, and it is still developing new ways to care for people living with HIV. We celebrate with a look at the clinic’s past and present, from the early days when there were no treatments available, to the push to treat every patient immediately after diagnosis, to the drive to extend HIV care to those society has pushed to the margins.
“The model of compassionate, coordinated, loving care is something that stands the test of any length of time,” said Paul Volberding, MD, an emeritus professor of medicine who founded Ward 86 as a young doctor with the late Constance Wofsy, MD, and Donald Abrams, MD.
“It was incredibly frightening. Literally every person we saw in the clinic died of AIDS,” he said. “I sometimes wondered if I was at the right place at the right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time. But I always, every time, concluded that it was the right place.”