I came of age in the late ‘80s, when people were dying of AIDS, and the message I got was: Sex can kill you. When I came to SHIP and started taking PrEP, I realized I’d always had this voice in my head during sex, saying, “This could kill you! This could kill you!” I got on PrEP, and that voice went away. It’s definitely had a positive impact on my life.
I feel really lucky to have found this clinic. I’ve heard from so many people who run into doctors who know nothing about PrEP or are prescribing the wrong drugs. I feel fortunate that I’ve got the guys who are pioneers in the field. I’m getting care from people who really know what they’re doing.
I’ve been coming to UCSF 360 for PrEP for about nine months now. I come in every three months and get the full battery of tests for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. They run all my labs, and then I have a check-up with Dr. John about any side effects or any changes in my sex practices.
For anyone considering starting PrEP, I would want them to know this program is here for them, and Dr. John is comfortable to talk to. Everyone here has been very supportive. It’s historically been an HIV clinic, and I can tell the staff is excited about helping prevent more from people becoming HIV positive
— Craig, UCSF 360 Sexual Health Improvement Project participant
I’ve been a patient of UCSF 360 since its inception in 1984. This is where I started AZT, the very first AIDS drug, when it became available.
Over the years, the continuity of care and the overall medical care here have been great. Whether I’ve had an HIV-related problem or a heart problem or a blood pressure problem, I’ve felt covered. I’ve always known the most up-to-date information is just a phone call or an appointment away.
I’ve also been in the Silver Project for people 50 and over—which is definitely needed in this town. A lot of people who came to San Francisco in the ‘70s are now approaching their “silver years,” and they have a different set of care needs. UCSF 360 is stepping up to the plate to take care of them.
I don’t like to think about “what ifs,” but without the care I’ve received here at UCSF 360, I don’t think I would have been able to live with HIV as comfortably as I have. It’s been like living with diabetes or any other chronic disease. HIV hasn’t overwhelmed my life. I don’t think I could have gotten that level of care somewhere else.
— Richard, UCSF 360 patient and Silver Project participant
I’ve been coming to UCSF 360 for about two years. I can see my primary doctor anytime I want to. My psychiatrist is readily available to me, and so is the medical social worker. I’m so happy with this place, it’s not even funny!
In addition to my primary physician, I really like my psychiatrist. When I came here, he took me off my old psychiatric medications and started me on a new regimen. My mood has been stabilized ever since. Before, I was lethargic, I had headaches, it was very difficult for me to stay awake during the day, and my speech was slurred. Now, I can concentrate and I’m more focused and driven. I’m an active participant in my own life.
Also, I attend Sherman Woods’s group on the first Thursday of every month. Various professionals in the community come and talk to us about HIV, mental health, or STDs, and we can feel comfortable asking questions on challenging or sensitive subjects. It’s educational and very informative. Most of us are gay, a couple of people are straight, but no matter our sexual orientation, we all have a common bond and we have similar questions we want answered.
I feel very fortunate that I found a place like this. I live in the Tenderloin, so I take the UCSF shuttle and a bus to come here for all my medical care. I feel comfortable being here, and I would encourage anyone who is HIV positive to try this clinic.
If I meet someone in the Tenderloin who’s positive, I say, “Come with me to UCSF 360, and I will show you what your experience will be like. Your perspective about health care will change. I guarantee, something magical will happen.”
— Sylvester, UCSF 360 patient and Men of Color participant
When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1987, I was shocked. I came here just to get a second opinion—and the clinic was perfect, so I stayed. My second opinion turned into a long-term relationship with UCSF 360.
This clinic has been a godsend. I’m telling you, they’ve saved my life a few times. I especially like the fact that this clinic is connected with a teaching hospital. There’s a lot of research, and the providers really want to know what’s going on with you. Often, I’ve had my half-hour visit turn into an hour. They’ve always been very accommodating.
Right now, I’m working with a psychiatrist on a mental health issue. I’m Latino, and mental health problems were things we never discussed; I grew up thinking those were other people’s problems, not mine. Coming here is very reassuring.
I also have a great new primary doctor. I just met her two months ago but I feel like I’ve known her forever. I gave her a hug at my last visit. Not everybody gets a hug!
It makes me feel good that everyone here is taking such good care of me. This is a great place.
— Jerry, UCSF 360 patient