Did you know that HIV/AIDS (the human immunodeficiency virus and its associated immune deficiency syndrome), first appeared in the Congo in the 1920s? The virus spread to the Western Hemisphere in the 1960s via the Caribbean, and the first known cases of HIV/AIDS were identified here in Los Angeles County. HIV/AIDS became a global pandemic in the 1980s when cases exploded around the world.
AIDS Awareness Month is observed every October to promote science-based, factual, and clear information to youth, people at-risk, and the general public. With millions of people living with HIV worldwide, L.A. CADA knows that public information about its prevention, transmission, and treatment must be accurate and widely available.
As an HIV/AIDS prevention advocate, L.A. CADA has several goals. We want to educate people about the importance of knowing your status and regular testing. L.A. CADA lobbies for and provides accessible and no-cost testing services. We work to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma, ensuring that our community has accurate information about HIV risk and transmission. And our most critical objective is to support L.A. CADA patients living with HIV/AIDS.
So, 40 years into the HIV pandemic, where are we in 2020?
- 38 million people around the world were living with HIV in 2019
- 7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2019 and
- 4 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy in 2019
Here in L.A. County:
- 60,946 people are living with HIV
- 1,660 persons aged 13 years and older were newly diagnosed with HIV infection
- Approximately one-third of new cases were identified early in HIV disease progression
- 7% of persons living with HIV are male and 13% are female
- 2% are Latino; 26.4% are white; 19.3% are Black
- 5% of men were infected by male-to-male sexual contact
- 76% of women were infected by heterosexual contact
The most critical changes that have occurred in the past 40 years are:
- Highly effective anti-viral drugs
- Treating people with HIV sooner rather than later dramatically reduces the spread of infection
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for widespread use to prevent HIV
- Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent seroconversion within 72 hours of exposure
- Expansion of Medical Care Coordination services throughout the County and
- Improved and targeted HIV testing
Still, an estimated 8,600 people here in L.A. CADA are living with HIV and don’t know it. We obviously have more work to do. And we’re ready with the following L.A. CADA HIV services:
HIV-Capacity Building Program: HISTORIAS
for Latino youth and TAY at-risk. Call (562) 906-2676 for information.
HIV-Target Capacity Expansion Program: Project 90
For prevention, testing, and counseling for men-who-have-sex with men. Call (213) 626-6411 for information.
Hollywood HIV Services
For HIV prevention, testing, and counseling. Call (323) 461-3161, ext 3818 for information.