Jerardo Lobato Hernandez lived on the streets of San Francisco for nearly a decade, struggling with severe depression, alcoholism and AIDS. Police arrested him regularly for public drunkenness, trespassing and illegal camping. Twice thieves put his health at risk when they stole his medications, which he is supposed to take daily.
He's "in great shape now," said Alberto Rangel, Hernandez's medical social worker at the Mission Neighborhood Health Center. Living in a residential hotel, receiving regular medical and psychiatric treatment and attending AA meetings though not yet sober, Hernandez's life has stabilized, his AIDS under control.
He is one of the success stories of San Francisco's nationally recognized model of care for people living with AIDS and HIV and those at highest risk of infection. But the system is under siege, say care providers.
The city is set to lose almost $8 million in federal AIDS funding in the new fiscal year that starts July 1 - the biggest one-time cut ever - and $10 million the following year.