NewsSan Francisco, California

A Concerted Effort to Lighten the Load

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Science  13 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6091, pp. 175-176
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6091.175

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Summary

San Francisco has suffered as mightily from HIV as anywhere in the world. According to studies by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), one in four men who have sex with men (MSM) in the city lives with the virus. DPH works closely with San Francisco General Hospital and, following its lead, issued a policy in 2010 that made San Francisco the first U.S. city to endorse antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-infected people, regardless of their CD4 counts. The hospital's venerable HIV/AIDS clinic, Ward 86, has pioneered aggressive efforts to link some of the city's poorest and most troubled people to top-notch care and keep them on antiretroviral drugs. And in one of its latest innovations, DPH has mapped the amount of virus—the so-called community viral load—in every neighborhood and risk group, which helps guide both treatment and prevention efforts.