AIDS: A Story of Courage and Collaboration

June 5, 2021, marks 40 years since the first reported cases of what would eventually become known as AIDS. The commitment of UCSF, the city, and the community in addressing the AIDS epidemic revolutionized the standard of care, saving millions of lives here and around the world. That legacy of leadership and collaboration continues today in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Perspectives: Parallels of AIDS and COVID-19

Four decades after San Francisco became the epicenter of HIV, the early days of the AIDS epidemic are still vivid memories for many in the UCSF community. With the collaboration of clinicians, scientists, civic leaders, community partners and activists, the city’s public health response eventually became known worldwide as the San Francisco model of care. Lessons learned in the AIDS epidemic significantly informed San Francisco’s early response to the novel coronavirus. The following are perspectives from those who are working on the frontlines to better understand, treat and prevent transmission of both viruses.

From Then Till Today

From the world’s first dedicated AIDS clinic to a program for long-term AIDS survivors, from the first patient with a rare cancer linked to AIDS to a goal of no new HIV infections in San Francisco, these are the highlights of the worldwide fight to end the AIDS epidemic. See a timeline

A collage of images from the history of the AIDS epidemic showing people marching through the streets holding banners, a Newsweek cover focusing on Gay America, pamphlets on AIDS in black and white, people jumping for joy at a recent AIDS Walk, a press conference by Jeff Sheehy and microscopy of HIV

Invested in Our Community

From raising funds for AIDS-related charities to creating new programs in partnership with San Francisco, UCSF is committed to joining with the entire Bay Area in our commitment and contributions to ending HIV and AIDS.

Mission COVID-19 Testing

How San Francisco’s AIDS Epidemic Response Prepared the City for COVID-19

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Dr. Elizabeth Imbert, medical lead for the POP-UP clinic for homeless and unstably-housed HIV patients at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, speaks with co-workers at Ward 86

Where HIV Treatment is Failing the Homeless in San Francisco, A New Clinic Steps In

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people dressed in pink outfits

2019 AIDS Walk San Francisco: UCSF Community Raises Funds, Shows Support for Federal Funding

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Monica Gandhi meets with patient Darnelle Hollie at Ward 86

San Francisco Moves Toward Zero New HIV Infections with Help from UCSF

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New Golden Compass Program Helps Older HIV Patients Navigate Health Services

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Countdown to a Cure: The Effort to Finally Defeat AIDS

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Life Before the Lifeboat: San Francisco's Courageous Response to the AIDS Outbreak

HIV/AIDS: Progress and Promise in Stem Cell Research