ABC7 News anchor Reggie Aqui talked with Robert Mansfield, Foundation Board Member, AIDS Walk San Francisco, and Monica Gandhi, M.D., Infectious Disease Specialist, UCSF.
But first, he had something he wanted to share. Reggie revealed a letter about Dr. Monica Gandhi. Good Morning America asked him recently to pick someone who has had a great impact on our lives this past year. Reggie picked her.
Here is the letter he wrote:
Every time there's a new COVID-19 headline, I immediately turn to one source and that is Dr. Monica Gandhi. Early on in this pandemic I started seeing her talk about COVID in terms that anyone in San Francisco especially, could understand. By comparing the pandemic to the disease that has already devastated a generation of gay men in our community, she compassionately and intelligently encourages us and her medical colleagues to rethink COVID era policy. Her vast experience with HIV AIDS at UCSF formed her to think in terms of harm reduction, rather than fear and shame tactics that history has shown, do not work. I believe her expertise locally and nationally has saved and also improved lives during this year. She deserves our thanks.
Robert has been in San Francisco since the 1970's and has seen pre-HIV/AIDS San Francisco during the worst of it and now post. "I first went to my first AIDS Walk thinking I wanted to gather with people and share in that grief at an event. I went to the park expecting a big, sad affair and instead it was happy, people were celebrating, dancing and singing. It's a way for people to get together to celebrate the people they've lost, and celebrate the people who are still fighting. This is our 35th AIDS Walk this year."
The agencies they support need funds now more than ever.
Dr. Gandhi expressed we are hopeful that what we are able to garner from the new vaccine for COVID-19 could lend itself for a vaccine, one day, for HIV/AIDS. "We have not eradicated HIV. We're still at 38 million people living with HIV. There was some initial work at this recent HIV meeting that mRNA Vaccines for HIV could provide hope for being that vaccine. So I think you're going to see a huge amount of research on this now, learning from COVID, applying it to HIV."
For more information, visit this website or call 415-615-WALK.
Watch this year's virtual event, AIDS WALK: Live From Home online, on our ABC7 App and on television at ABC7.