Jeff Sheehy

Patient Advocate, HIV/AIDS

Appointed by the California Senate President Pro Tempore

Jeff Sheehy is director for communications at the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF. He is a longtime HIV/AIDS and gay civil rights activist and a person living with HIV. Sheehy most notably worked on Survive AIDS’ project advocating for organ transplants for people with HIV. Survive AIDS, in collaboration with Assemblywoman (now Senator) Carole Migden, obtained funds for organ transplants for people with HIV. This initiative has not only saved lives of Californians with HIV/AIDS who needed transplants, but also led to a NIH funded protocol that is performing solid organ transplants in people with HIV at sites across the country.

In 1996, he and two colleagues conceived, drafted and lobbied through San Francisco’s historic Equal Benefits Ordinance, which requires that companies contracting with the City provide the domestic partners of employees the same benefits that spouses of employees receive. To support the legislation, he founded and led Equal Benefits Advocates, which conducted the successful national boycott of United Airlines that resulted in United, American, and US Airways offering domestic partner benefits to their employees worldwide in 1999. To date, over 3,500 companies have complied with the law. And, an estimated 50,000+ lesbians and gay men around the country have now obtained health insurance and other benefits for their domestic partners due to this law.

From 1998 to 2000, Sheehy served as a victim advocate for the San Francisco District Attorney. In that position, he assisted same-sex victims of domestic violence and hate crimes and conducted an advanced officer training class in same-sex domestic violence at the San Francisco Police Academy.

Sheehy was appointed HIV/AIDS advisor to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004. Sheehy has been the recipient of the Cape Crusader Award from Equality California, the HRC Leadership Award from The Human Rights Campaign, the Tomas Fabregas AIDS Hero Award presented at San Francisco’s AIDS Candlelight March in 2001 and was featured in OUT Magazine’s OUT 100 list of the most influential members of the LGBT community in 1999. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas in Austin.