This year, L.A. CADA staff “Rocked the Red Ribbon” on December 1st, –while continuing to work toward a day when HIV services are no longer needed. World AIDS Day began in 1988. In 2022, the International AIDS Awareness Day theme centered on the inequalities that perpetuate the AIDS global pandemic.
Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse became involved in HIV services in 1988 to response to one such inequality – the disproportionate rate of HIV among substance users, particularly people of color. In 1989, our prevention and treatment work in this area received funding in the first ever round of prevention funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the 34 years since that time, L.A. CADA has established HIV testing services in three agency locations, evidence-based HIV prevention education and counseling for co-occurring HIV and behavioral health disorders, as well as Recovery Bridge Housing facilities for gender non-conforming adults living with or at highest risk of HIV. Yet, much remains to be done to “equalize” conditions in this pandemic. Some of them include:
- Increase availability, quality and suitability of services, for HIV treatment, testing and prevention, so that everyone is well-served
- Reform laws, policies and practices to tackle the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV and by key and marginalized populations – everyone must be shown respect and welcomed into care
- Ensure the sharing of technology to enable equal access to the best HIV science, between communities and between the Global South and North.
- Help communities to make use of and adapt the “Equalize” message to highlight the particular inequalities they face and to press for the actions needed to address them
There are many other barriers to an AIDS-free world, but L.A. CADA is working in our corner to ensure that people at highest risk here in L.A. County have access to the care they need. If you want help for alcohol, drug, and/or mental health issues and HIV, L.A. CADA provides treatment and housing. Call us at (562) 906-2676.