Did you know that L.A. CADA was one of the first behavioral health treatment agencies in L.A. County to establish an HIV Prevention division? We received a grant in the very first round of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) prevention awards in 1986, and our HIV services have operated continuously for the past 35 years.
A lot has been accomplished in that time. Since anti-retroviral therapy was introduced in 1996, AIDS-related morbidity and mortality has declined significantly. The good news is that people living with HIV are now expected to live nearly as long as people without HIV.
The bad news is that despite the advances, those living with HIV often report poor well-being and health-related quality of life. HIV/AIDS healthcare disparities primarily affect our marginalized and disenfranchised communities:
- African Americans, who make up only 14% of the United States population are 44% of the HIV-positive population
- Latinos face three times the HIV infection rates as whites
- Men who have sex with men represent 2% of Americans, but they account for 61% of all new HIV infections.
That means much remains to be done. Increased awareness of care disparities among people of color is primary. Will you help by wearing a red ribbon on World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1st? If anyone asks about it, tell them that you support L.A. CADA clients who are struggling with HIV and the problems that can co-occur with it: substance use and mental health disorders, homelessness, and the stigma of getting help.
And let’s give well-earned props to L.A. CADA’s HIV Program Managers Charles McWells and Lawrence Fernandez – our real life HIV Prevention heroes! If you know someone who needs help or information for HIV and substance use disorders, contact us at (562) 906-2675 or in L.A. at (213) 626-6411.