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 (APLA) was founded in 1983 and is one of the largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS service organizations in the United States. APLA provides bilingual support to more than 6,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Additionally, APLA conducts behavioral research designed to inform the development of evidenced-based interventions and assists health departments in evaluating their HIV/AIDS services to ensure the delivery of effective and quality programs. APLA also provides administrative and fiscal support to the Global Forum on Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSMGF), which promotes and advocated for the health and human rights of MSM internationally. APLA is proud to be a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach. For more information, please visit apla.org.
APLA Health & Wellness (APLAHW) provides primary medical and oral health care, behavioral health services, HIV testing, PrEP counseling and management of eligible clients, STD screening/treatment, and health education and HIV-prevention services, with a specific focus on low-income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals living in Los Angeles County. APLAHW is a federally qualified health center that includes: the Gleicher / Chen Health Center in South Los Angeles; the Wilshire Dental Clinic downtown; Behavioral Health Services at the David Geffen Center in Mid-City; as well as a mobile dental facility. The S. Mark Taper Foundation Dental Clinic in South Los Angeles is also part of APLAHW. APLAHW serves more than 8,000 people each year. For more information, please visit aplahw.org.