There’s a big difference between finding a doctor (which is difficult enough!) and feeling comfortable enough to stick with them. Since 2010, there have been encouraging improvements in the number of people living with HIV who connect to care and those who become viral suppressed. However, the number people who are actively engaged in care or stay in care has decreased. Here’s the math: In 2018, 75% of persons newly diagnosed with HIV were linked to care within1 month. At year-end 2019, 7 in 10 PLWH (people living with HIV) were engaged in care, 5 in 10 were retained in care, and 6 in 10 were virally suppressed.
Linkage to HIV care is critically important to make sure that people stay healthy and reach undetectable viral loads, which can help stop the spread of the virus, but it’s just the first step. At APLA Health, we create care plans that place the person front and center, not the virus. We provide guidance on antiretroviral medication and help people stick to their medication.
Food insecurity and HIV/AIDS are intertwined. A recent study showed that half of people living with HIV/AIDS in this study lacked sufficient food, and food insufficiency was associated with multiple indicators of poor health, including higher HIV viral loads, lower CD4 cell counts, and poorer treatment adherence.
Begun as a $35-a-week food voucher program in 1986, APLA Health’s Vance North Necessities of Life Program (NOLP) has since become the nation’s largest network of food pantries for people living with HIV/AIDS, currently operating out of 13 locations throughout Los Angeles County. Included in NOLP are our nutrition services that provide information on the best foods to eat and how to cook them.
With a registered dietician nutritionist on staff (thanks Janelle!), we ensure that everyone’s unique nutrition needs are met!
Our mission at APLA Health is to end the HIV epidemic. Unfortunately, in LA County, our transgender family members are disproportionately impacted by new HIV infections.
Through Trans Connections, we are also able to provide one-on-one support for transgender people of color in a holistic way. We know you have to listen,respect, and validate all aspects of a person’s life in order to ensure the best health and prevent HIV.
But we are more than medical providers for our transgender community; we are advocates for the transgender community. We know our role is not to speak on their behalf, but rather to provide a microphone to amplify their voices. To the transgender individuals for whom we work to ensure you are not alone: we support you and we stand against discrimination.