Director of Legislative Affairs, San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF)
Ernest Hopkins is the Director of Legislative Affairs at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) where he has led its federal funding, policy, and legislative activities since 1997, first as the Director of Federal Affairs and now as Legislative Director with expanded oversight over HIV-related funding, policy, and legislative efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. Prior to joining SFAF, Ernest served as the Director of Health and Treatment at the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) from 1995 to 1997, where he worked with pharmaceutical companies on ethical, clinical trial design, and educated communities nationally in the early days of combination antiretroviral therapy.
Ernest, along with Welmore Cook and Theodore Kirkland, is co-founder of the first Black Gay and Lesbian Pride Day. An event started in 1991 to fund critically needed supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., it has evolved, through the International Federation of Black Prides, into a worldwide social justice movement promoting liberation and empowerment of LGBT people around the world.
In 1994 Ernest was appointed by D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt-Kelly as Chair of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Regional HIV Health Services Planning Council, where he served until 1996. Also in 1994, Ernest began his relationship with the Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief (CAEAR) Coalition, the oldest community-based coalition devoted to advocating for adequate funding and sound federal policy for the Ryan White Care Act. Ernest currently serves as the Coalition’s national Chairman.
In 1997, as a member of the African American Policy Workgroup, Ernest worked closely with the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations subcommittee members and staff and the Congressional Black Caucus' Health Brain Trust to establish the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative. In 1998 Ernest was awarded the
Congressional Black Caucus’ Health Brain Trust Community Service Award for his efforts.
Ernest is a founder and current Board Chair of the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition, established in 2006 to advocate at the federal level for the health and wellness of black gay men. Ernest is a member of the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, STIs, and Hepatitis (CHAC). He also serves on the Board of the National AIDS Housing Coalition as its Advocacy Chair, and he represents SFAF on the Black Gay Research Group and the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership.