35 Years of Service

1983 - 35 Years Ago: Our Founding and Expansion of Service

Since our founding, APLA Health has been at the forefront working to end the AIDS epidemic. This year marks the 35th anniversary of our incorporation and the launch of our fight against HIV/AIDS and to support those communities infected and affected by AIDS.

From the very beginning, one of AIDS Project Los Angeles’s key goals was to educate our community with factual, up-to-date information about the disease. We launched one of the nation’s first Hotlines, initially housed in an old closet with all that we knew about AIDS – a single page of facts and resources on a clipboard.

By the end of April 1983, we had supported 5 clients living with AIDS and answered thousands of phone calls. By April 1984, we had almost 180 clients.

One of our most critical early programs was the APLA Buddy program. Dozens, hundreds and then thousands of trained APLA volunteers helped clients with AIDS with daily tasks, social activities or even just provided basic human contact. Our volunteers took meals into the hospital rooms of AIDS patients -since the hospital staff was too frightened and left trays outside the door.

The program was followed by the APLA Dental Clinic in 1985, founded to treat people living with AIDS who were denied services by other dentists, and our Necessities of Life Program in 1986, which began as a $35 food voucher program and has become the Vance North Necessities of Life Program, the nation’s largest network of food pantries for people with HIV/AIDS.

For 35 years, we have fought to end the epidemic. We did this for our lives and for our future. Over the years, we have continually evolved and expanded our services to meet the growing and changing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS; adding behavioral healthcare, developing robust HIV & STD testing and prevention programs, increasing our advocacy work, broadening our support services and adding primary medical care.
Today, APLA Health serves more than 14,000 patients and clients annually, focusing on serving the low-income LGBT community and people living with HIV.

We continue to be the leading provider of HIV prevention and health education services in Los Angeles County targeting populations at highest risk of HIV, including gay men of color, young gay men and members of the transgender community.

2018 – WHO WE SERVE:
• 14,000 men, women and families annually
• 10,000 people in medical and dental care (3,600 HIV positive)
• 5,000 low-income people receiving critical HIV support services
• 69% of all clients are LGBT
• 68% of all clients live on less than $20,000 a year
• 57% of all clients are from a community of color

2018 – WHERE:
• 6 APLA Health Centers including Baldwin Hills, South Los Angeles, Long Beach, Mid City / Koreatown, Downtown and our newest site Fairfax – Carthay Circle
• 16 APLA Health locations covering Los Angeles County – from Lancaster to Long Beach

We (the patients, clients, staff and volunteers) at APLA Health owe a great debt of gratitude to each of you who support us. While we are grateful for the progress we’ve made to combat the disease, we will never forget those we lost along the way.

We remain as firmly committed to ending this epidemic as we were when we were founded in 1983. Over the coming months, join us as we look back at our 35 year history of service and our exciting future.