There is life after work for many of Alcatraz Cruises’ employees.
For deckhand Cary Crites, it was training for and embarking upon the “ride of his life,” joining over 2,000 other cyclists for the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles (www.aidslifecycle.org).
As part of his first organized cycling ride, Cary’s primary sponsors were Alcatraz Cruises and Hornblower Cruises & Events as well as friends and family, all who helped come up with about $4,000 that contributed to the $15 million raised for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Cary’s motivation for this endeavor was curiosity and the encouragement of one of his cycling buddies. Although he admits that he did not know much about AIDs prior to his journey, Cary was inspired by the stories shared by many of the other riders and volunteers. He comments, “I had the opportunity to learn about AIDs and its impact on so many of the loved ones that survived the trials and tribulations of family members, lovers and close friends.” Cary continues, “I am in awe with those that dedicated their lives through the effects of this ugly disease, supporting their loved ones through the horrific symptoms of AIDs.”
During the seven-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Cary encountered many inspiring stories but was also saddened by the impact AIDs still has on approximately 37 million people throughout the world living with HIV.
The AIDS/LifeCycle Challenge raises money and awareness for the HIV and AIDS services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. 2017 marks the fifteenth year for AIDS/LifeCycle and the twenty-third for the event overall. During the week of June 4 – 10, thousands of cyclists and volunteer roadies came together to do something incredible, something that will change lives.
Alcatraz Cruises is the National Park Service concessioner of ferry service to Alcatraz Island, hosting nearly 1.5 million visitors a year. For more information, visit www.alcatrazcruises.com
HIV/AIDS Facts and Figures
In San Francisco…
- With an estimated 15,995 people living with HIV, San Francisco has one of the largest HIV-positive populations per capita in the United States.
- Of the total number of San Franciscans living with HIV, 9,454 were living with AIDS at the end of 2015. AIDS is a late stage of HIV disease defined by a low count of CD4 cells.
- Gay and bisexual men of all ages and ethnicities continue to bear the brunt of the disease: nearly 90% of people living with HIV in San Francisco are gay or bisexual men and 82% of new HIV diagnoses are among gay and bisexual men.
- More than a quarter of people living with HIV in San Francisco have not achieved viral suppression, a level of the virus so low that it is undetectable and nearly impossible to transmit. More than one-third are not retained in care.
- African-Americans are disproportionately represented among new HIV infections: 17% of new diagnoses were among African-Americans in 2015, while only 6.7% of San Francisco’s population is African-American.
- Of all new HIV diagnoses, transgender people represent almost 3% of new cases and 40% of new diagnoses in transgender people occurred in people 18-29 years old.
- The Latino community represents 26% of all new diagnoses.
- Deaths from AIDS-related causes have declined dramatically as a result of effective treatment and adherence. In 2015, 197 people died from AIDS-related causes in San Francisco. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the city has lost 20,987 people to the disease. At its peak in 1992, the city lost 2,331 people.
In Los Angeles…
- More than 59,600 people are living with HIV in Los Angeles County, of which 12% of them don’t even know they are HIV positive. A majority of the people living with HIV in the county are male (87%) and/or Latino (41%).
- 85 percent of new infections were diagnosed among gay and bisexual men.
- 61 percent of new infections were diagnosed among people between the ages of 20-39.
- African-American gay and bisexual men are roughly three times more likely to test positive for HIV compared to Caucasian gay and bisexual men.
- The Hollywood-Wilshire district in Los Angeles, which includes the city of West Hollywood, has the highest rate of people living with HIV in the county.
- More than 120,000 people in California are living with HIV.
- Beginning in 2010, about 5,000 people are diagnosed with HIV in California each year.
- 75% of all HIV/AIDS cases occur among gay or bisexual men. However, since 2010, there has been a steady increase in the number of HIV diagnoses among transgender people.
- African-Americans account for nearly 18% of those living with HIV or AIDS in California.
- Latinos account for nearly 34%, a percentage that has grown since 2010.
- Nearly two-thirds of all Californians living with HIV reside in Los Angeles County or the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the United States…
- More than 1.2 million people are living with HIV.
- Almost 1 in 8 of those infected with HIV is not aware of their status. While gay and bisexual men overall account for the majority of all new HIV infections, African-American gay men are disproportionately affected, with 1 in 2 African- American gay men at risk of contracting HIV in their lifetime if current diagnoses rates continue.
- African-Americans comprise only 12% of the total U.S. population yet account for an estimated 45% of new HIV infections nationally in 2015. African-Americans also account for 40% of everyone living with HIV in the U.S. and 53% of AIDS related deaths.
- By race, African-Americans face the most severe burden of HIV and represent the majority of new AIDS diagnoses, new HIV infections, people living with HIV, and AIDS-related deaths.
In the World…
- Approximately 37 million people are living with HIV.
- Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 78 million people have contracted HIV and about 35 million people have died of AIDS-related causes, including 1.1 million in 2015.
- The number of new HIV infections has decreased from 2.5 million in 2009 to 2.1 million in 2015.
- Seven percent of new HIV infections occur in people under age 15.
- Africa accounted for 72% of the world’s AIDS deaths in 2015.
- Around 49% of people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy in June 2016 – some 18 million people.