For Immediate Release
Los Angeles, CA (May 15, 2014) – The Board of Directors of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) has voted to decline a $100,000 pledge to the organization from the Donald T. Sterling Foundation. The pledge, made in November 2013, was to fund programs and services for those living with and at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS over the next ten years. This action was taken by the APLA Board of Directors after Mr. Sterling’s comments made to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night regarding Magic Johnson and his HIV status.
“The APLA Board of Directors works tirelessly to help those living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk in Los Angeles, and we will not affiliate with someone who so blatantly and reprehensively attempts to stigmatize people living with HIV,” said Rodney Gould, Chair of the APLA Board of Directors.
Vallerie Wagner, the chief operating officer of APLA Health & Wellness added, “Mr. Johnson has done tremendous work since finding out his HIV status in promoting awareness about HIV/AIDS — the ways that it’s transmitted and what you can do to keep yourself and your partners safe.” She added, “Donald Sterling is living proof that HIV stigma still exists.”
“Magic Johnson did exactly what we encourage our clients and all sexually active people in Los Angeles County to do – get tested regularly for HIV,” added Mr. Gould. “And if you are HIV-positive, immediately seek HIV medical care and stay in care.”
AIDS Project Los Angeles, one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct care and treatment services to over 7,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. In 2013, APLA marked its 30th year of operation, and we are a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.
APLA Health & Wellness is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary medical care, oral healthcare, mental health services, HIV testing, STD screening/ treatment and health education and HIV prevention services targeting low income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. APLA Health & Wellness serves over 6,000 individuals across Los Angeles County each year.
For more information, visit apla.org.