Where To Go For Help If You’re HIV Positive In Los Angeles Or Know Somebody Who Is
A few years ago, I lived in Los Angeles and worked for an AIDS organization in Santa Monica. Los Angeles has a large HIV/AIDS infected population, with more than 10,000 men, women and children living with AIDS in the LA area. LA also has a large homeless population, many of whom are HIV positive because of drug use and unprotected sex. If you live in Los Angeles and are HIV positive, have been diagnosed with AIDS or even just want to get a free AIDS test because you’re not sure your HIV status, where do you go?
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Here are some of the best AIDS organizations in Los Angeles, with the services they provide. During the five years I was in LA, I worked with most of them, either through the agency I worked for or as a volunteer. They are all great organizations, with dedicated staff who are there to help anyone affected by HIV/AIDS.
Common Ground – The Westside HIV Community Center. This used to be known as Santa Monica AIDS Project, and was the organization I worked at for more than 2 years. Based in Santa Monica, Common Ground does a lot of work with the homeless population of Los Angeles. They have a food bank, client services, counseling services, a client lounge where people with HIV can go and meet others. They also provide free and anonymous HIV testing, dental and medical services, and emergency motel and food vouchers. They specifically target Los Angeles’ huge youth homeless population by providing services to homeless youth 12 to 25 years of age. They do great work in area schools, talking to kids about HIV prevention, and even give away free condoms and clean needles every week on street corners in LA county. 2012 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica – 310 314-5480
Project Angel Food. This is one of my favorite AIDS organizations in Los Angeles. They provide free, nutritious meals to people who are HIV positive, have AIDS or other serious illnesses. Having healthy meals can literally be the difference between life and death and, for those people who are seriously ill, they often don’t have energy to cook so either don’t eat anything at all or eat junk food. Project Angel Food delivers free healthy meals and even brings a gift for birthdays or special occasions. If you are sick and would love someone to bring you food every day, contact them at 922 Vine Street, Los Angeles – 323 845-1800
Women at Risk is a non-profit organization for women who are HIV positive. They give emotional and educational services in the form of one on one peer counseling, support groups, childcare services, hospital visitation, and prevention education. As the number of women who are HIV positive is increasing in Los Angeles and worldwide, Women at Risk provide a valuable service. For more information – 5183 Overland Avenue, Suite B, Culver City- 310 204-1046
AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) is the largest AIDS organization in LA. They publish AIDS prevention literature, have a Speakers Bureau, offer free HIV testing, they run free food pantries, offer counseling services, case management services, free transportation to medical appointments, and even free and sliding-scale dental services. They also collaborate with AIDS organizations in India, China, Central America and South Africa, helping with services such as nutrition, counseling, HIV testing and more. APLA’s main office is at The David Geffen Center, 611 South Kingsley Drive, Los Angeles – 213 201-1600
Being Alive, West Hollywood works on a lot of issues concerning public advocacy for AIDS. They lobby local and national governments about AIDS issues and work towards getting laws passed that are beneficial to those with HIV/AIDS. They also have a Speakers Bureau, counseling services, massage, yoga, hypnotherapy, chiropractic, and reiki – all used to help people living with HIV/AIDS improve their health in a holistic manner. Another important service they offer are social events. Many people with HIV/AIDS find it difficult to go out and meet people, as they’re afraid of their HIV status being discovered, so they tend to be reclusive and isolated. Being Alive runs a weekly Meet and Greet , field trips, lunches, dinners, trips to the bowling alley, to the beach and numerous other places – all designed to get HIV positive people out of the house and into society. If you need any of their services, or have friends who do, contact them at 621 North San Vicente Boulevard
West Hollywood – 310 289-2551.
There are many AIDS organizations in Los Angeles, these are just a few of the best ones. Don’t forget, if you are HIV positive or know somebody who is, make sure you or your friend get out of the house and sign up with some of these organizations. Having a social life, getting good nutritional food, counseling services, medical and dental help can seriously be the difference between living with HIV healthy or dying with HIV. All these agencies also have some awesome volunteer opportunities, if you feel like you want to work with people with HIV/AIDS and make a difference. AIDS is not a death sentence and all these organizations will help you or somebody you love live well with it.