San Francisco General Hospital’s Division of HIV/AIDS — Ward 86

The BIE cohort with Guy Vandenberg, NP in Ward 86

In the early 1980s, HIV was spreading rapidly throughout San Francisco. While many clinicians were hesitant of treating HIV-positive patients due a lack of understanding of how it was spread, SFGH opened Ward 86, the first dedicated HIV clinic in the country. Since then, Ward 86 has developed several innovative programs that have contributed to the vastly improved care outcomes that we see today.

Dr. Monica Gandhi answering questions about the history and pathophysiology of HIV

This past week, the BIE cohort had a chance to visit this remarkable clinic and meet several of the doctors that work there. Dr. Oliver Bacon discussed some of SFGH’s programs, including the San Francisco Model of HIV care and Positive Health Access to Services and Treatment (PHAST). Both of these programs emphasize patient centered care and collaboration among doctors, nurses, social workers, case managers, psychiatrists, and addiction specialists.

Although improvements in care have led to the life expectancy of American HIV-positive people nearing the national average, there are still plenty of needs that have yet to be addressed. Significant disparities in clinical outcomes persist. To help combat these disparities, SFGH’s Division of HIV/AIDS is consistently working on new technology and launching research initiatives around the world. For example, Dr. Carina Marquez told the group about her research projects on improving the Tuberculosis care continuum for HIV-positive people in East Africa. Another ongoing study led by SFGH’s Division of HIV/AIDS is the Sustainable East Africa Research on Community Health (SEARCH) project, which focuses on linking people in rural Kenya and Uganda to HIV clinical services.

To learn more about SFGH’s Division of HIV/AIDS and Ward 86, visit

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