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Kicking off National HIV Testing Week in Los Angeles, Councilmember Bernard C. Parks will join Councilmember Janice Hahn and County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke in an effort to significantly increase the number of Los Angeles residents getting tested for HIV. The Call to Action and press conference will feature Emmy-nominated actress Gloria Reuben, who starred in the groundbreaking role of HIV positive nurse “Jeanie Boulet” on ER.
Free HIV and STD testing will be provided to residents of Nickerson Gardens and the surrounding Watts Community. The event is co-sponsored by Minority AIDS Project and the Magic Johnson Foundation, and will be hosted by Jacquie Stephens of KJLH Radio, 102.3FM.
This event is a key element of the City of Los Angeles’ HIV Testing Initiative, which is the largest municipal effort in the United States to call for implementation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing in Medical Settings, and the expansion of HIV testing in community-based settings. Through the Initiative, the City will significantly expand HIV counseling and testing by facilitating routine testing in medical facilities and throughout neighborhoods with a high prevalence of HIV infection.
Councilmember Parks noted, “We are committed to raising the call for quality healthcare throughout Los Angeles’ most impacted communities.” “Access to quality healthcare includes access to routine HIV screening,” added City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator Stephen David Simon.
The goals of the Testing Initiative are threefold: facilitate an increase in public and private HIV testing to a level that will result in one million people in the City knowing their status by 2011; make HIV counseling and testing more routine and attainable, thereby also reducing the stigma associated with taking an HIV test; and increase identification of HIV positive individuals, resulting in earlier treatment and prevention of disease transmission to others.