Optimist May 2013

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Over the course of the last year, the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and the Prevention Planning Council (PPC) have come together in order to better coordinate care, treatment and prevention activities across Los Angeles County. The two bodies are each charged with directing HIV/AIDS activities in the county and therefore have a big impact on APLA’s clients.

The first major development of this new coordination is the creation of the first-ever Los Angeles County Five-Year Comprehensive HIV Plan. This is the first fully-integrated HIV plan for Los Angeles County, addressing the entire continuum of services from prevention and testing to linkage to care, treatment, and retention of persons living with HIV in care. The final plan was approved at a joint meeting of the Commission and PPC in March and can be viewed online here.

With the HIV plan completed, the two bodies shifted focus to the unification of the two bodies. At the joint meeting in March, members of both planning bodies approved a plan and structure for the new unified body. The goal is to finalize the merger by the end of June 2013. The July meeting would be the first of the unified body.

APLA currently holds four seats on the two different planning bodies: Tonya Hendricks, Program Manager of the Vance North Necessities of Life Program on the Commission; Jason Wise, Local Affairs Specialist on the Joint Public Policy Committee of the Commission; Terry Smith, Associate Director of Education and Michelle Enfield, Red Circle Project, both on the PPC. The structure for the joint body includes numerous opportunities for APLA’s participation and membership, but it is unlikely that we will retain all four seats since the overall number of seats is being reduced. The Government Affairs division will continue to be active in this process to ensure that APLA’s expertise and influence on HIV issues are not diminished in the process.

Overall, these changes are another example of the changing outlook of HIV services. Coordination not only allows these groups to become more efficient in their work, but also for treatment providers to become more involved in prevention activities, and vice versa. Better coordination will encourage better services for people living with HIV and more well-rounded prevention activities both of which aim to stem the tide of this epidemic.

Keep pace with APLA’s work around local HIV planning bodies—and don’t miss future opportunities to share your opinions with legislators—by joining APLA's "In the Loop" online advocacy network.