The public is invited to a picnic and health fair focusing on HIV/STD awareness on Friday, October 15, sponsored by the UCSF PositiveHealth Practice. Celebrating 20 years of HIV specialty care, the event is scheduled for 11:00 am to 1:30 pm at the Pioneer Cabin picnic area in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, near Stowe Lake.
The event is designed to increase awareness of the changing face of HIV infection and its long-term complications, as well as HIV care. The fair also will emphasize the need for early testing and care to address the current rise in HIV incidence and the disparities in outcomes among different affected groups.
There will be HIV/STD educational information, and a short program will feature reflections by Practice patients and staff. At the event, HIV/STD screening will be conducted at no charge. Information tables will be staffed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Black Coalition on AIDS, Continuum HIV Services, and Brown & Toland Medical Group. More than 200 people are expected to attend.
Part of UCSF Medical Center, the UCSF PositiveHealth Practice is directed by Malcolm John, MD, UCSF assistant clinical professor of medicine.
The Practice is recognized among the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS programs in the country and as a leader in treatment and research. It also is nationally renowned for its highly successful population-specific clinics, including the Women's and Children's Clinic and the Men of Color Program, which targets African American men living with HIV.
The Practice serves all HIV-positive persons, regardless of insurance type, along with the immediate family of patients, including partners and children. It also sustains a network of community-based organizations, which provide resources for patients and their families beyond the scope of traditional primary care.
According to John, the UCSF PositiveHealth Practice has successfully increased long-term survival in marginalized HIV-positive populations by providing culturally appropriate wrap-around resources that support a long-term relationship with a primary care provider. "Our success comes from a diverse staff who on a daily basis demonstrate compassion, a commitment to patient care, and a supportive environment that utilizes the clinical and scientific experience of UCSF Medical Center.
"We have found the barriers to care often lie outside the scope of the traditional role of a primary care clinic, so we have evolved to provide a central support in a patient's care, providing access to resources that overcome the barriers to health care so common for our patients," says John.
He adds, "It's about respecting a patient's right to lead one's own care, while providing excellence in clinical care and psychosocial support. The challenge now lies in getting those who are unaware of their HIV status tested and engaging those not in optimal care into a long-term relationship with the healthcare system. We hope our event will be one that increases awareness of these needs."
The Practice is planning a 20th anniversary fund-raising gala that will take place in the spring of 2005.
For more information about the Oct. 15th picnic and fair, call 415-353-3498.
NOTE TO THE MEDIA: In order to protect the privacy of event participants, media coverage is restricted to 11:00 to 11:45 am