The first World AIDS Day was observed in December, 1988 – the same year L.A. CADA received our first CDC HIV prevention grant. Our involvement in HIV services has been prompted by the strong correlation between substance use, mental health disorders, and higher risk for HIV. To address this risk, HIV prevention and care has been a vital part of L.A. CADA’s mission to save lives, unite families, and protect the community. Together with so many other agencies in the HIV services field, L.A. CADA has worked on the front lines to reduce HIV infection in vulnerable populations. Our HIV services are led by HIV prevention pioneers Charles McWells and Lawrence Fernandez. Both men have been continuously involved in prevention advocacy since the beginning of the epidemic and were instrumental in development of L.A. CADA HIV prevention services:
Project 90: Serving Black adult MSM (men who have sex with men) in L.A.’s metro area using evidence-based HIV prevention strategies to achieve international UNAIDS goals:
- 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
- 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
- 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
HISTORIAS Para Jovenes: Working to prevent HIV among Latino youth and young adults. HISTORIAS has adapted the CDC best practice “Community PROMISE” to empower youth through community mobilization, storytelling, and distribution of small-media materials and risk reduction supplies.
HIV Testing, Counseling, Prevention Services: Using evidence-based practices via HIV services storefronts and social/sexual network linkages to identify high-risk adults, encourage HIV testing, and model best practices for HIV prevention using peer mentors.
Velvet Jesus: A gripping, secular theatrical production showcasing the link between substance use, childhood abuse and trauma, and risk for HIV, written and developed by our own Charles McWells.
At the heart of L.A. CADA HIV services is the memory of the millions of people all over the world who have been lost to the HIV epidemic over four decades. And in their memory, we work with other community providers to achieve progress in HIV prevention, resilience, and impact. We know that this can only be accomplished using empirical data to deliver high quality, people-centered HIV prevention and treatment services to those most in need, while tackling stigma and discrimination, and empowering communities at-risk. And L.A. CADA is privileged to be part of this vital work.
See the WAD Timeline