Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer
July 17, 2019
APLA Health Hosts CDC Director Dr. Redfield in Baldwin Hills
Event is Part of Ending the HIV Epidemic Community Tour
APLA Health hosted a meeting of high-level federal public health officials and HIV community leaders Thursday, July 18, at its Gleicher/Chen Health Center in Baldwin Hills as the Trump Administration’s Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America tour conducted its inaugural visit to Los Angeles County.
The federal delegation included Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Valerie Gallo, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 9 of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). They met with Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer, as well as leadership from the County Division of HIV and STD Programs, local health organizations and HIV community advocates.
“APLA Health welcomes Dr. Redfield and other public health officials to Los Angeles to discuss the President’s plan to end the epidemic,” said Craig E. Thompson, APLA Health Chief Executive Officer. “The administration has an ambitious goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 but this plan will only be effective if impacted communities are at the table through every stop of the planning and implementation process.”
President Trump announced his administration’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States during his State of the Union Address in February. The plan seeks to reduce new HIV diagnoses by 75 percent in five years and by 90 percent by 2030. This will be accomplished by intensifying efforts to diagnose people with HIV, increasing the number of people living with HIV in treatment, and dramatically increasing uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – a daily medication that has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV by up to 99 percent.
Los Angeles County is one of 48 highly impacted counties targeted in the President’s plan. These jurisdictions – along with Washington, D.C. and San Juan, Puerto Rico – account for more than 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses annually. The plan also focuses on seven states that have a high proportion of HIV diagnoses in rural areas.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health estimates that more than 60,000 residents are currently living with HIV, and nearly 2,000 residents are newly diagnosed with HIV each year. While new diagnoses have unfortunately remained relatively stable since 2010, certain communities remain disproportionately impacted, including young Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and women of color.
The Trump administration’s proposed FY 2020 budget includes $291 million to begin implementation of the plan. The new funding would support:
- strategic HIV testing efforts in geographic hotspots,
- improved care and treatment of people living with HIV through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and
- increased PrEP uptake through the nation’s network of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).
While the administration’s proposed budget includes new funding for certain HIV programs and services, it also includes steep cuts to other health, housing, and safety net programs, including a $63 million cut to the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program, which provides critical housing support for people living with HIV and a $1.3 billion decrease in funding for the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The administration also continues to undermine the Affordable Care Act, which remains a critical source of health coverage for both people living with and vulnerable to HIV.
“APLA Health supports increased funding for HIV programs, but that funding must not come at the expense of other critical health and safety net programs that serve people living with and affected by HIV both domestically and abroad,” Thompson continued. “Medical care is only one part to ending the HIV epidemic. Programs must be funded and assurances made that make receiving medical care easier.”
“The administration’s plan to end the HIV epidemic will not succeed unless it ends attacks on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, and rescinds policies that are harmful to LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and communities of color. This is a message we deliver on behalf of our clients and a message they must take back to the White House.”
ABOUT APLA HEALTH: APLA Health’s mission is to achieve healthcare equity and promote well-being for the LGBT and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. We remain committed to ending the epidemic in our lifetimes. We are a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 18,000 people annually. We provide 20 different services from 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 LGBT and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us at aplahealth.org.