In 2018, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) partnered with the ride-share service Uber to offer its clients free rides to and from health care appointments. Since then, hundreds of volunteer Uber employees have provided hundreds of hours of their time and more than 1,000 free rides to clients at SFAF, according to a KPIX/CBS news segment (watch the video above).
On National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, marked annually on September 18, SFAF and Uber Health celebrated their continuing joint support of the HIV community.
Michael Stoutmire is just one client who has benefited from the partnership. In his San Francisco neighborhood public transportation and taxi rides can be expensive, so free rides are vital to accessing the medical care he requires.
“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,” Stoutmire told KPIX.
“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 added.
Currently, more than 50% of adults living with HIV are over age 50, according to the Administration for Community Living. This proportion is expected to increase to over 70% by 2030. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control show that one in six HIV diagnoses are among people 50 and older.
“Ensuring clients are able to access the care they need is a key part of our goal to help people achieve viral suppression so that they can live well with HIV,” said Lara Brooks, vice president of programs at SFAF, in a 2018 news release.
Stoutmire told KPIX that his health has improved since the program started because he is able to attend all his appointments. What’s more, not having to pay for transportation gives him peace of mind.
“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.”
In related news, September 18 marked National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.