“We are not here to wag fingers at bars or people who drink. We are here to provide information and resources so that everyone has the knowledge to make the best possible decisions about their health.”
CEO, San Francisco AIDS Foundation
On February 16, 2012, San Francisco AIDS Foundation held a public HIVision forum titled, “Alcohol & HIV: Current Thinking about Drinking.” In his introduction, foundation CEO Neil Giuliano observed that alcohol use in our community is pervasive—so much so, that “the line between drinking and drinking too much often gets blurred. And when we cross that line, many of us don’t have the tools to recognize it and know where to get help.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Giuliano said, one in six U.S. adults binge drinks, defined as consuming five or more drinks within two hours for men, and four or more drinks within two hours for women. Excessive alcohol use contributes to car crashes, violence, and sexually transmitted infections like HIV and is implicated in nearly 80,000 deaths per year.
“So,” asked Giuliano, “is drinking bad for us?” Not necessarily, given research showing cardiovascular benefits of moderate drinking. In addition, he said, “we want to recognize the important role that our bars and clubs—and the LGBT merchants and allies who run them—play in creating a very strong sense of community” here in San Francisco. Giuliano’s opening remarks highlighted some of the complex health and social issues surrounding alcohol use and laid the groundwork for a lively panel discussion. For More got to www.sfaf.org