California AIDS Hotline Fact Sheet


  • The Hotline program started in the fall of 1982 as a volunteer-operated single telephone information and referral hotline.
  • Behind the scenes at the California AIDS Hotline In October 1982, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the San Francisco Department of Public Health established a formal contractual relationship to provide limited educational services in San Francisco.
  • In November 1983, SFAF contracted with the State of California Health Services Department. Northern California residents were provided with toll-free access to the AIDS Hotline information and referral services.
  • In 1987, SFAF initiated its efforts to reach the Latino community through the AIDS Hotline. The "Linea de Informacion Sobre el SIDA" began operating in November of that year.
  • In 1990, the Hotline expanded its coverage to include Filipino speakers through the Filipino AIDS Hotline.
  • In the spring of 1997, SFAF was awarded the State of California Hotline contract.
  • In July, 1997 the Hotline expanded its coverage throughout the entire State of California. SFAF has been managing the State Hotline ever since.

Hotline Hours of Operation

  • Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (until 9:00 PM Tuesdays)

Hotline Phone Numbers

  • (800) 367-AIDS Toll Free in the state of California
  • (415) 863-AIDS In San Francisco and outside California
  • (888) 225-AIDS For the deaf and hearing impaired
  • (415) 487-3000 SFAF reception

Volunteer Recruitment

Hotline volunteers are recruited through a variety of activities and settings such as:

  • Websites (such as Volunteer Center of San Francisco
  • Community events
  • Other volunteer organizations
  • Other AIDS service organizations
  • Civic organizations
  • Schools and universities
  • Health and education fairs
  • Media advertising
  • Internship program

Volunteer Training

  • Entry-level health education volunteers are required to attend an initial 18-hour classroom training plus an additional 4 hours of practice calls, 6 hours of tutorial work to enhance computer and resource finding skills, 2 hours of supplementary training and 2 hours of update/graduation exercises for a total of 32 hours. Training topics include immunology, virology, epidemiology, risk reduction, harm reduction theory, risk assessment, injection drug use, testing, information access, anti-HIV drugs, natural approaches, news items and theories, crisis and suicide calls, sex roles and power, role playing and practice calls.
  • The training also teaches volunteers communication skills and cultural competency.

Referral Database

  • In 1992, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the San Francisco Public Library began a collaboration to develop and maintain an extensive and comprehensive HIV/AIDS referral database for Northern California. The database was named after John McGuire, who worked at one time for both the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. It was John's vision that a database such as this be created.
  • Since July 1994, the database–which now includes more than 1,200 referrals for Northern and Southern California–has been used as a referral source by the volunteers at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's California HIV/AIDS Hotline.
  • In 2001, SFAF developed a new in-house referral database and search engine.
  • In June 2001, the referral database and search engine was made available via the Internet for use by other AIDS service organizations and the general public.