SAAF’s History

CLICK THE VIDEO ABOVE TO SEE A SHORT FILM ABOUT SAAF

In 1985, a few concerned citizens decided to make a difference in the Tucson community’s response to HIV & AIDS. They formed the Tucson AIDS Project (TAP), followed shortly by the Shanti Foundation. In 1987, a group of people living with HIV/AIDS incorporated their grassroots advocacy efforts into the People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson, PACT for Life.

Working in concert, the three agencies created an array of services for people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, meeting basic needs as well as more sophisticated ones, while simultaneously providing information and skill-building programs to help others prevent further infection.

In 1997, again responding to the needs of their clients and community, PACT, Shanti, and TAP merged under the name Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) creating one of the largest nonprofit consolidations in the history of Pima County. SAAF continues the traditions of PACT, Shanti, and TAP, providing direct services and programs in safe, supportive environments that enhance the quality of life for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS; assisting people in avoiding HIV infection; and empowering people to lead healthy, productive lives. At the heart of our mission is the conviction that people living with HIV/AIDS have the right to determine what services they require and that stigma is a problem affecting us all.

In 2014, SAAF took over several initiatives from Wingspan, formerly southern Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community center. This has helped to broaden SAAF’s scope of services which now include the Eon Youth Lounge & Anti-Violence Programs. SAAF changed it’s mission to more accurately reflect our expanded reach. SAAF’s new mission, to cultivate a healthy & stigma-free society through transformative action, more accurately reflects the work SAAF does in our community.

In 2015, SAAF celebrated 30 years of providing services and continues to be the only community-based organization in southern Arizona providing case management and ancillary support services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families; culturally appropriate prevention and education programs to reduce the rate of infection; & LGBTQ community outreach & engagement.

News and Events

  • National HIV Testing Day is June 27, May 19, 2017

    HIV testing is the only way to know for sure if someone has HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in eight people in the United States are infected with HIV and don’t know it. That means they aren’t getting the medical care they need. We encourage HIV testing on National […]

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  • 35th Annual AIDS Candlelight Memorial is Sunday May 21, May 2, 2017

    The 35th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial will be commemorated worldwide on Sunday May 21, 2017. This year’s local event will take place at the Historic Y, located at 300 East University Blvd, from 6:30-7:30pm.  This is a free event and open to the public. This year’s event will include a multi-faith blessing; performances; a moment […]

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  • Stonewall Foundation to fund Endowment for SAAF’s Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, April 14, 2017

    The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) has been awarded funding from the locally-based Stonewall Foundation to support the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th- A SAAF Place for Youth. This annual funding is in perpetuity and will help fund renovations at the Center in the initial year of funding while establishing and growing the Stonewall Foundation […]

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  • SAAF Volunteer Appreciation Event is April 27, April 5, 2017

    SAAF will once again shine the spotlight on our wonderful volunteers at our annual Volunteer Appreciation event. This year’s event will take place during National Volunteer Week, on Thursday April 27, 2017; from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Y. Dinner will be catered by Carte Blanche catering, served by SAAF employees followed by […]

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  • AZ Gives Day is Tuesday April 4, March 24, 2017

    The 5th annual Arizona Gives Day is Tuesday April 4 and we hope that you will consider giving to SAAF on that day. We have arranged match gifts totaling $3,000 but we need your help to make sure that we reach each match (see below for a listing of match donors). Plus, if SAAF is […]

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The mission of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation is to cultivate a healthy and stigma-free society through transformative action.