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Transgender HIV prevention programs offered at Long Beach, Baldwin Hills health clinics

APLA Health is implementing an HIV prevention program focusing on transgender people of color from 18 to 29 years of age and their partners — the demographic most impacted by HIV — at its health clinics in Long Beach and Baldwin Hills thanks to a five-year, $1.9 million federal grant. Photo: iStock Photos/bagi1998

LONG BEACH — HIV prevention programs focusing on transgender people of color from 18 to 29 years of age and their partners — the demographic most impacted by HIV — have been implemented at APLA health clinics in Long Beach and Baldwin Hills thanks to a five-year, $1.9 million federal grant, according to a press statement.

TRANSGENDER HIV PREVALENCE

In Los Angeles County, the transgender community is small population with a population of 13,788 people, less than 0.3 percent of the total population, they are disproportionately impacted by HIV — About 15 percent are HIV positive and 20 percent of them are unaware of their status, according to the Los Angeles County Health Department’s Transgender Population Estimate

“We’re honored to be one of only seven organizations in the country selected for this critically needed funding,” Terry L. Smith, director of HIV prevention services at APLA Health, said in the statement. “In addition to high rates of HIV, young transgender people of color face many barriers to accessing quality medical care from knowledgeable providers and often deal with stigma and discrimination in other aspects of their daily lives.”

APLA’s  Long Beach health clinic, located on the campus of St. Mary Medical Center, opened last year and offers primary medical care, including HIV and STD testing and treatment, counseling and dental services in a 7,000-square-foot facility.  They also offer PrEP counseling and management and health insurance enrollment assistance.

APLA Health is the only community-based organization in California to receive the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant, the statement said.

APLA’s Trans Connections HIV prevention program, which focuses on South Los Angeles and Long Beach, is designed to address patient needs in a holistic way, meaning medical, social and support services, not simply offering services in one area to leave needs in another, Smith said.

THE GRANT

Long Beach receives $500,000 over five years, and Baldwin Hills gets $1.4 million. Grant funding began April 1 and will run until March 31, 2022.

In Long Beach, APLA Health and the Long Beach LGBTQ Center are partners on the grant.

“This grant is a blessing for our community,” Porter Gilberg, executive director of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center, said in the statement.

APLA will work to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and promote health equity in several ways:

  • Increasing HIV testing and linking those who test positive to HIV medical care
  • Increasing referrals to partner services
  • Providing prevention and essential support services for people living with HIV and those at high risk of becoming infected

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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