SAN FRANCISCO – Monday is National HIV / AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, which highlights not only the progress made helping people living with HIV but also advocate for those older adults with unique needs.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Uber celebrate their partnership on this day to help local patients receive free rides to appointments.
"Now that I am able to live independently again and have these services that's provided to me through Uber Health, that's a wonderful thing," said Michael Stoutmire.
Stoutmire recently moved into an apartment where he enjoys the chance to spend time in his neighborhood with nearby parks as well as restaurants and shops within walking distance. It's a product of the treatment he receives from the foundation and other medical care.
Where he lives makes it difficult to use public transportation though and taxi rides can be expensive, so he benefits greatly from Uber Health offering free rides to his appointments.
"To know that I have the security to get to and from my appointments without having any obstacles that could potentially block it, is a great comfort," he told KPIX.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation clients have received almost 1,000 rides using Uber Health, according to the company. It makes a difference in the health of patients like Stoutmire, who says he gets to appointments more frequently and feels better about the experience with this service.
The program comes at a time when people aged 50 and older make up a significant number of new infections, around 16 percent in 2021.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control also shows that one in six diagnoses are people aged 50 and older. The age group also makes up 53 percent of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S.
Statistics that have advocates using this day of awareness to push forward on the goal of no new infections, no more deaths, and an end to discrimination.
"The fight is not over. We are pressing forward to getting towards zero, but we need everyone's help to make this a sure thing," Stoutmire said. "I'm glad for where we are now but there is yet more to do."
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