Local and Community News
San Francisco AIDS Foundation Marks 20 Years of AIDS Service
May 24, 2002
With pride and sadness, friends and supporters of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation marked the organization's 20th anniversary on May 9. The dinner -- which celebrated the foundation's tenacity but mourned the fact that AIDS still exists at all -- was held in the large festival pavilion at Fort Mason.
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus gave the opening performance, followed by an installation of SFAF's public service announcements over the past two decades -- including the controversial "Dress for the Occasion" poster depicting an erect penis covered in a condom. The dinner raised $350,000 and was attended by 725 people.
Dr. Mitchell Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, was recognized for his years of involvement with the epidemic, his collaboration with research institutions, and his willingness to sign an emergency order that allowed the city and the foundation to implement "legal illegal" needle exchange programs. Joe Ahern, president and manager of KGO television, was honored for his station's willingness to broadcast the "stories no one wanted to hear" about HIV/AIDS. Also recognized were Marcia and John Goldman.
SFAF Executive Director Pat Christen presented a timeline, complete with visuals, of the AIDS epidemic and the foundation's major milestones. Christen took to task ACT UP/San Francisco and others by exhorting the audience to "Stand up to bullies. Whether they are AIDS denialists swinging bags of urine-soaked sand at your head, oppressive senators, or fundraising producers who are clever marketers.
"Those who insist you behave or they will harm you are not people to ignore. They are unethical and damaging, and you need to stand up to them on behalf of those who cannot," she said. Christen was herself a target of ACT/UP San Francisco in 1996 when members interrupted an SFAF-sponsored candidates forum and showered her with used cat litter.
SFAF's AIDS timeline is available at www.sfaf.org.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
05.12.02; Zak Szymanski
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.