Our quarterly roundup of news, information, events, and more
35 Years of Service
Since our founding, APLA Health has been at the forefront of the response to HIV. This year marks the 35th anniversary of our incorporation and the launch of our fight to end AIDS while we support communities living with and affected by HIV.
From the very beginning, one of our key goals at AIDS Project Los Angeles was to educate our community with the most up-to-date facts about the disease. We started 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 answered thousands of phone calls and were serving 5 clients with AIDS. 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 just by providing basic human contact. Our volunteers took meals into the hospital rooms of AIDS patients when the hospital staff were too frightened and left trays outside the door.
That program was followed by the APLA Dental Clinic in 1985, established to treat people living with AIDS who were denied service by other dentists, and our Necessities of Life Program in 1986, which began as a $35 food voucher program and has become the nation’s largest network of food pantries for people with HIV/AIDS.
For 35 years, we have fought to end the epidemic. We are doing this for our lives and for our future. We continue to evolve and expand our services to meet the growing and changing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS by 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 with a focus on 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 that target the 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 in 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 supports 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 forward to our exciting future.
Getting to know:
APLA Health – Olympic
In December 2017, APLA Health joined forces with Global Healthcare L.A., a vibrant medical practice in the Fairfax/Carthay Circle neighborhood.
Our new doctors and staff have long been committed to the optimal health of their patients and share our vision of making health care accessible to a broader population. We want to ensure the well-being of everyone in the community regardless of how individual situations might change due to losing insurance or being between jobs. Dr. Jay Gladstein, the physician who served on the board of APLA Health and founded Global Healthcare, has joined us as Medical Director of our new “APLA Health – Olympic” site.
“Becoming part of APLA Health is giving us a greater ability to provide care to our patients as circumstances in their lives change, and to reach a greater segment of society,” said Dr. Gladstein. “Our patients now have access to additional services of a federally qualified health center, such as counselors or benefits coordinators, and better-priced medications and vaccines.”
We welcome the new members of our APLA Health team, and we have also have leased a second, larger suite in the Olympia Medical Plaza where we are currently building our third state-of-the-art medical clinic. We expect construction to begin soon with a target grand opening and ribbon-cutting in August. Our current plan is to keep both suites at 5901 West Olympic for a total of 8 exam rooms and 5 counseling rooms to provide LGBT and HIV medical care, behavioral health care, and comprehensive support services.
Once the construction is finished and we are fully licensed, we anticipate doubling the number of patients at APLA Health seeking medical and mental health services. We’re excited be able to have the opportunity to expand our impact in those historically underserved communities in Los Angeles County.
At 28 years old, Seth is part of the next generation of advocates continuing our mission to raise awareness of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic and fight to end it.
While his generation grew up with greater understanding of HIV and AIDS, along with the introduction of protease inhibitors that allowed people to live longer with HIV, he knows that the need is still there. That’s why he has been volunteering for APLA Health. He’s not in a position to make a major gift at this point in his life, but he has time to spare and knows that if he can go to the gym or hang out with friends, he can also give back to his community.
“I might not be able to write a $100 check, but I can donate my time and my resources to raise money from my friends and family. There are so many ways to help,” Seth said. And help he has. In addition to volunteering for events, Seth worked to raise more than $1,300 for APLA Health’s Jolly St. Knickers Run in December. Not only does his crowd-based fundraising support critical services for our community, but it ensures that people still understand that HIV/AIDS is still very real and that the fight to end the epidemic is not over.
“Young people aren’t that hard to mobilize, and we’re also extremely passionate about our causes. Whether it’s March for Our Lives, the Me Too movement, or something else, I see my generation taking action.” Seth said. “Young people are enthusiastic to help because they have the most to lose, because it is our future.”
One reason that Seth decided to give his time and resources to APLA Health is that he heard about the opportunity from a staff member. According to Seth, there are more people willing to chip in and serve, but they may be too timid or overwhelmed to just get started. However, creating a personal connection to the mission and addressing a specific need in the community led him to become a volunteer and advocate, even it it was initially uncomfortable.
“People who lived through the 1980s have a story to tell that can help create that connection of the continued need to get involved,” he said. “It’s absolutely important for people to share the history of this epidemic so young people know. It’s a part of our history. Not just the gay community’s history, but America’s history,” Seth said.
Seth thinks that if more people were willing to engage with young people and connect them to the past, then they would become more likely to spend their time working with APLA Health and support our mission as we continue our work into the future. “This is something that the youth want,” he said.
We want to know your story.
APLA Health provides services to more than 14,000 individuals in Los Angeles County, and we want to know their stories. Have you been receiving services from APLA Health for several years? Are you a new patient or client? Have you or a loved one been affected by HIV and AIDS? Has a staff member gone above and beyond what you were expecting?
We want to know the full story. What are we are doing well? How we can serve you better?