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HIV Activist Jeff Sheehy Becomes San Francisco's Newest Supervisor

Jeff Sheehy

The appointment of Sheehy makes him the first openly HIV-positive person to serve on the city's board.

Jeff Sheehy will be the first person known to be living with HIV to serve on the board. San Francisco mayor Ed Lee handpicked Sheehy to fill the vacancy left by Scott Wiener when Wiener was elected to the state Senate in November. Sheehy is a long time activist who was diagnosed with HIV in 1997 and attributes his being alive to the city's dedication in responding to the virus. “I literally would not be here if City Hall had not come together” he said, about the city's efforts. 

Prior to this Sheehy was the director of communications at University of California's San Francisco’s AIDS Research Institute. He has played a vital role in helping San Francisco adopt its patient-focused approach to HIV treatment and prevention — an effort that has led to the city's remarkable reduction in HIV rates

The area Sheehy will be representing, District Eight, includes the traditionally gay neighborhoods of the Castro, Noe Valley, and Glen Park. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, at a news conference, the mayor described Sheehy as “forward-thinking, solution-oriented, pragmatic, [and] practical.” 

As the HIV and AIDS policy advisor to former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, he was know for his tenacity and outspokenness. For example, when a city official argued that erectile dysfunction medication should be reclassified as controlled substances — as a way to reduce the city's HIV rates — Sheehy responded by telling the Bay Area Reporter, “Jeff Klausner wants the dicks of people with HIV in his back pocket, and he wants us to ask him permission to use it. And I am not going to give him my dick.”

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