March 16, 2022 – Today, APLA Health joined End the Epidemics, a statewide coalition of more than 150 community organizations, in urging Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to allocate $105 million in the state budget to address alarming increases in overdose deaths, skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and ongoing high transmission rates of HIV and viral hepatitis. Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, will champion the budget request in the Legislature.
“With a historic budget surplus, the Governor and Legislature have a critical opportunity to improve the health of the most vulnerable and underserved Californians and reinvigorate the state’s efforts to address HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, and overdose as we begin recovering from the pandemic,” said Assemblymember Low. “I applaud the Governor for proposing unprecedented new investments to rebuild the state’s depleted public health infrastructure, increase access to behavioral health services and substance use disorder treatment, and expand access to health care for all Californians regardless of immigration status. At the same time, however, targeted public health funding remains essential to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated to tackle these growing public health crises that disproportionately impact LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other vulnerable communities.”
“Over the last two years, public health departments and community organizations have been stretched to their limits responding to COVID-19 while simultaneously addressing the escalating rates of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis and overdose,” said APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson. “As California moves into the next phase of the pandemic, it’s time to get serious about addressing these growing public health crises and accelerate prevention, testing, and treatment efforts. Absent these investments, public health efforts to address these epidemics will continue to fall woefully short. We applaud Assemblymember Low for his steadfast commitment to ending these epidemics and improving the health of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities in California.”
The End the Epidemics budget request will build upon and strengthen existing efforts to address these epidemics, including the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative and the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan. Specifically, the coalition is urging the Governor and Legislature to support the following priorities:
Over the coming months, End the Epidemics will mobilize community members to educate their elected officials about the importance of these investments. The coalition will host a “Virtual Week of Action” from April 25-29, during which advocates will meet with their elected officials to share how the increased funding would positively impact their communities. More information about the End the Epidemics budget request can be found here.
ABOUT APLA HEALTH: APLA Health’s mission is to achieve healthcare equity and promote well-being for the LGBTQ+ and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. We remain committed to ending the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. We are a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 18,000 people annually. We provide 20 different services at 16 locations throughout Los Angeles County, including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impacts the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conducting community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. Its signature fundraising event, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, has drawn hundreds of thousands of supporters to walk, and millions more to donate, raising more than $91 million to combat HIV and AIDS since 1985. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.
APLA Health restores dignity and trust within underserved communities by providing world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, support services, and HIV specialty care. Since 1983, APLA Health has remained steadfast in its commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. The agency is a multi-site operation includes eight Federally Qualified health Center (FQHC) locations, serving more than 18,000 people annually in Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous. We provide 20 different services including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impact the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.