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From the Executive Director

Beyond the Numbers

Craig E. Thompson


On Thursday, February 7, we mark the 13th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a reminder of the ongoing need to focus on HIV education, testing, and treatment within African American communities.

Data released just recently by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a 21 percent decline in new HIV infections among African American women, while the overall annual rate of new HIV infections nationwide remains relatively stable at 50,000. But just beyond those headlines, much more ominous figures appear.

Yet again, we see a sharp and troubling increase of 22 percent in the incidence of new HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men, ages 13 to 24 years old. And at the intersection of racism, homophobia, and other stigma, we find the most devastating statistics: Up to 80 percent of all new HIV infections among young people occur in youth of color. Even among young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, 54 percent of new HIV infections are among African Americans. Data like these are stunningly disproportionate but seem endless.

That’s why the programs we now offer at the APLA Health & Wellness Center in South Los Angeles are so critically important. We take direct aim at stigma with tried-and-tested interventions that reduce the number of new HIV infections, particularly among these hardest hit communities. Mpowerment, APLA’s youth prevention program, is a safe space for young gay, bisexual, or questioning men of any color to talk about issues that matter to them. Among the group’s many outreach activities is a monthly HIV testing event that includes music, games, food, and free condoms.

Other programs, such as “Many Men, Many Voices,” (3MV) offer an evidence-based approach to fighting stigma, racism, homophobia, and resulting HIV. Programs like 3MV and others, paired with our HIV testing and counseling efforts, seek to change these headlines.

We know too much, and we have come too far, to lose yet another generation of vibrant youth to a preventable disease. Learn more about APLA’s ongoing efforts to fight HIV among communities of color here.

Craig E. Thompson

Craig E. Thompson
Executive Director
AIDS Project Los Angeles

What's New

ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

APLA is proud to announce a new partnership with ONE National Gay and Lesbian archives, the largest repository of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning (LGBTQQ) materials in the world. In APLA’s 30 years of service, the agency has amassed literally thousands of documents — photos, safer-sex guides, event programs, even handwritten letters from clients that tell of lives saved and hope restored.

APLA is honored to work with ONE and the University of Southern California Libraries to establish a permanent collection of APLA materials within the archives.

Insight APLA Luncheon

Do you want to learn more about the programs and services that APLA provides? If so, join us at our InSight APLA Luncheon on Thursday, May 9 at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood. This luncheon is free to all attendees and will provide you with a great opportunity to hear first-hand from some of the clients whose lives have been saved and enhanced by APLA.

We’re also looking for people to serve as table captains for the luncheon. Visit our InSight Web page to join us or learn more about becoming a table captain.


A Life Remembered

Alicia Martin


When Alicia Martin was 16, she finally learned why none of her siblings was allowed to go into their mother’s room if they were sick. She learned why her mother had to go to the doctor so often. And she learned why her mother, Yolonda, had lost 40 pounds in the short span of two months.

Alicia’s mother, an APLA client, had been living with HIV for most of Alicia’s life. Yolonda was a single mother raising seven children, and she was the kind of woman that was everybody’s mother, her daughter remembers.

“She was just so strong,” Alicia says, with tears in her eyes. “Even though she was sick, I didn’t think she would pass away, because she was just so strong.”

But Alicia’s mother would eventually succumb to AIDS in 2006. Every year since Alicia’s mother died, her whole family has come together to participate in AIDS Walk Los Angeles. They walk to celebrate their mother’s life and to give back to APLA, an organization that was able to help Yolonda by linking her to medical care and by sending a registered nurse and a licensed clinical social worker from APLA Home Health Services to take care of her when her health began to decline.

Alicia has taken her commitment to APLA one step further by becoming a special events intern at the agency. She has played a crucial role in recruiting volunteers for The Envelope Please, APLA’s upcoming 12th Annual Oscar viewing party, scheduled for February 24. She has also been able to help with APLA’s Holiday Toy Giveaway and in APLA’s Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries, which offer food to APLA clients who are living with HIV/AIDS and facing hunger.

“There are so many volunteer opportunities out there,” Alicia explains. “But this one really gives me a sense of fulfillment.”

Learn more about the different volunteer opportunities at APLA, and find the perfect one for you.


The 29th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.)

S.T.A.G.E.Are you ready for an amazing night of performances from Broadway’s biggest stars? Don’t miss “Broadway, My Way” on April 6. This year’s cast is filled with stars of screen and stage, including: Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon, The New Normal, Girls), Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Anything Goes, Bunheads), Florence Henderson, Shirley Jones, Tyne Daly, Kimberley Locke, Patrick Cassidy, Bruce Vilanch, and many more. Tickets are now on sale at

Shop at Ralphs®

Supporting APLA can be as easy as swiping your Ralphs Rewards Card! Simply sign up here for the Ralphs Community Contribution Program and designate APLA (agency number 81297) as your charity of choice. Each time you shop, a portion of your total bill will benefit APLA programs and services.

Donate Your Old Vehicle

Is an old car, truck, or boat taking up space in your garage? Consider donating your vehicle (whether it still runs or not) to support APLA. Riteway Charity Services will tow away your donation free of charge; you’ll get a tax deduction; and proceeds from the sale of the vehicle will benefit APLA. Learn more.

Valentine’s Day Gift Idea

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and we have the perfect gift idea for that special someone. APLA is teaming up with, where you can create a one-of-a-kind gift book for someone you love. Datevitation has generously agreed to donate $10 to APLA for every book sold here.

Take Action

Governor Maintains HIV Drug Program, Advances Health Care Reform

For the first time since he took office in 2010, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a budget that does not include any cost-sharing or other major cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides anti-HIV and other crucial medications at no cost to low-income Californians living with HIV/AIDS. This is a major victory for thousands of Californians who depend on this life-saving program to access their medications that would otherwise be financially out of reach.

The governor has also called a special session of the legislature in order to advance the state’s implementation of healthcare reform. The special session will craft legislation that needs to be approved in order for the state to begin rolling out health care reform programs that must be in place in just a few months so that such programs can begin enrolling new members all across the state.

California’s Health Benefits Exchange, Covered California, will offer health insurance options to millions of self-insured individuals and employees in small businesses. The state’s Medi‑Cal program will be expanded to cover all uninsured individuals who meet certain income eligibilities. The state is debating whether to simply open the existing Medi‑Cal program to anyone earning less than $15,000 a year, regardless of any other eligibility measures, or whether to instead incorporate the county Low Income Health Programs (LIHPs) into Medi‑Cal. Some of the key issues at stake in this debate are the breadth of coverage, ease of transition, and who is ultimately responsible for delivering healthcare to this critical patient population.

Keep pace with APLA’s efforts to ensure access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS programs in this critical transition under healthcare reform here in California and nationwide — and don’t miss opportunities to share your opinions with legislators — by joining APLA’s “In the Loop” online advocacy network.

Photo of the Month Photo of the Month

At a recent luncheon held by the APLA Women’s Committee, more than 50 women living with HIV were asked to write down what they were thankful for and post their answers on the heart shown above. Their answers included: “...for housing, [to be] clean, sober, and to be in acceptance of my life today. I have serenity,” “getting to know each other as women,” and “[for waking] up this morning... able to help someone else.” For more photos of the event, visit the APLA Facebook page.

APLA Events The Last Word

The Envelope Please: APLA’s Oscar Viewing Gala »
February 24

Tom Whitman and Collective Effect @ APLA present Red Carpet Riot - Beats of the Southern Wild »
February 24

Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) »
April 6

InSight APLA Luncheon »
May 9

Concrete Hero – Ultimate Urban Obstacle Challenge »
July 14

See All Events

“As soon as I see this building and walk in the doors and see all these smiling faces waiting to get their food... I smile.”

- APLA client Joyce Lister describing to KNBC‑TV’s Mekahlo Medina the joy that she feels when she volunteers at APLA’s Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries. Joyce, a 69‑year‑old woman living with HIV, rides her bike to volunteer at the pantry before taking home her own bags of groceries. Watch the whole interview, aired on KNBC’s channel 4, here.

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AIDS Project Los Angeles is dedicated to: improving the lives of people affected by HIV disease; reducing the incidence of HIV infection; and advocating for fair and effective HIV-related public policy.

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