By Luke Stangel | June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: This is a profile of one of our eight Excellence in Healthcare winners, who will be honored at a luncheon on Thursday, June 7, at the Silicon Valley Capital Club.
Unless you were there, it’s hard to imagine how scary the early days of the HIV epidemic were for young gay men in San Francisco. An infectious disease that didn’t yet have a name was spreading across the city. Doctors speculated it might be an aggressive new form of cancer.
“I started seeing people in San Francisco who were my age, walking with canes, thin, sick, who had lost a lot of weight and were dying,” said Stanford University clinical professor Larry McGlynn. “Garage sales were all over the place. You’d see young men’s clothing and records, representative of a life that was just starting out. You knew people were dying.”
Doctors were studying the disease, but had not yet developed medication to manage its symptoms. Getting an HIV diagnosis seemed like a death sentence. One of McGlynn’s childhood friends was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s and committed suicide.
Those early experiences shaped McGlynn’s career. Today, he’s one of a small handful of psychiatrists in Silicon Valley who specialize in treating the mental health of patients with HIV and people who use crystal meth.
His days start early and end late.
McGlynn, 57, splits his week between two clinics — Stanford’s Positive Care Clinic in Palo Alto, and PACE, a public health clinic at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. He estimates he sees somewhere between 10 and 15 patients per day, for sessions that last up to an hour each. On top of that, he also teaches at Stanford.