In the 1980s, dentists around the country were refusing to see people living with HIV because there was so much stigma and fear around the disease.
There is an important connection between oral care and overall health and regular access to a dentist is important to staying healthy.
APLA Health stepped up to provide this most basic of healthcare for our community. We started in a small trailer in West Hollywood to serve those who needed us. And as we became more integral to our community, both for those living with HIV and those who were not, we expanded our reach. Today, we have three dedicated dental clinics with a fourth one opening next year.
At APLA Health, we are a place where everyone is seen as the norm, and not the exception.
There is a lot of medical distrust. For Black and Latinx people, for people living with HIV, and LGBT patients who hardly ever see themselves reflected or heard at the doctor’s office this leads to less visits, less check-ups and worse health outcomes. This reality is more stark for transgender individuals who are often greeted with raised eyebrows and invasive questions. They are also more likely to be uninsured, compounding the problem of finding transgender competent care.
That is where APLA Health steps in. As a federally qualified health center, we see everyone who walks through our doors, regardless if they have insurance or not. We build trust with our patients and clients, use their preferred pronouns & name, and provide them with the best support to meet their healthcare needs.
The daily use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) medication has proven to be up to 99% effective in blocking HIV infection. Blocking new infections, along with testing and treatment, is key to ending the AIDS epidemic.
The good news is: Awareness of PrEP has increased from 60% to 90% among gay and bisexual men!
The tragic news is: PrEP usage by eligible candidates in Los Angeles averages only 25%—and is lower among African-American and Latino gay and bisexual men and in underserved populations.
The key to increasing PrEP uptake: Eliminating health disparities and inequities that keep people from getting care. That’s what APLA Health works towards every day. With our continued advocacy to remove barriers and our PrEP navigator program, we’re helping more people access this game changing drug.