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LA LGBT Center Opens New Testing Facility in WeHo

Wed, Oct 21, 2015   By Staff    9 Comments

The L.A. LGBT Center yesterday opened a new West Hollywood location that will offer a variety of tests and treatments for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center-WeHo is located just above Gym Sportsbar and Coffee Bean at 8745 Santa Monica Blvd. at Hancock. “At the new Los Angeles LGBT Center-WeHo, we’re offering the services and support that are essential to protecting the sexual health of our community,” Center CEO Lorri L. Jean said at an opening ceremony attended by members of the West Hollywood City Council and local residents. “And we’re providing them in a welcoming, sex-positive environment where everyone will feel comfortable talking to our providers and counselors about their risk factors, their interest in going on PrEP, STD symptoms they may be experiencing, and more.”

A poster for the L.A. LGBT Center's "What R U Into?" sexual health campaign.

A poster for the L.A. LGBT Center’s “What R U Into?” sexual health campaign.

The new facility, at 2,600 square feet, is nearly twice as large as The Spot, the Center’s previous HIV/STD facility, which was located in the rear of the Citibank building on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente.

In addition to free HIV testing and STD testing and treatment, the new Center-WeHo will offer HIV prevention treatments such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), vaccinations for hepatitis A/B and HPV, partner notification services and condoms. Soon Pap smears will also be available.

The new center will be able to provide up to 15,000 HIV/STD tests a year—three times the what could be provided at The Spot. Those who test positive for an STD can be treated onsite; those who test positive for HIV can receive immediate medical care and support services from the Center’s Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic in Hollywood, which offers the same sexual health services as the Center-WeHo.

“If everyone who is HIV-positive could get treatment and reduce their viral load to an undetectable level, HIV could be stopped,” said Dustin Kerrone, the Center’s director of sexual health services. “But first they have to know they’re positive. Today, one out of seven people who are HIV-positive don’t know it. By increasing our testing capacity, by offering fast and convenient testing in a sex-positive environment, and by making it easy to obtain PrEP and PEP, we hope to help slow the spread of HIV in L.A. where 83 percent of those living with HIV are gay or bisexual men.”

In addition to offering PrEP and PEP, the Center-WeHo will help those who are uninsured, or whose insurance plans don’t cover it, qualify for financial assistance programs to help cover the costs.

To promote the new facility, the Center has launched a marketing campaign dubbed “What R U Into?” that features a diverse range of men in various West Hollywood locations, pictured with the wide-range of emojis they use on smart phone apps to convey what they’re “into.” The campaign’s simple message reads: “Whatever you’re into, caring for your sexual health is our priority at the new Los Angeles LGBT Center-WeHo.” The campaign will run in print, online, mobile and outdoor media supported by the website .
The Los Angeles LGBT Center-WeHo’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 4 – 7 p.m. Testing services are available on a walk-in basis or appointments can be made by calling 323-860-5855. Additional information is available online.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center-WeHo is funded in part by the City of West Hollywood, L.A. County Division of HIV and STD Programs, California State Office of AIDS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS/LifeCycle participants and contributions from other Center supporters. Architectural design services were provided pro bono by Center board member Michael Mueller.

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9 Comments

  1. Chris SangerSat, Oct 24, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Larry Kramer is quite alive at 80, though perhaps not in great health. If he read this, he’d likely be equally upset at the idea of references to “God” resting his soul.

  2. Brian HoltFri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Slut shaming – No. Reality check – Yes.

    One doesn’t have to be a slut to catch a dirty and destructive STD. They can simply be Careless. Reckless. Hapless and/or Hopeless. They can also just be young and naive and immune to subtle messages. Sadly, AHF’s bold messaging is what cuts through these days.

    I applaud AHF for their tactics. In fact, they don’t go far enough. There should be shocking and disturbing photos up there too. The wasting. The nausea. The diarrhea. The rashes. Night sweats. Thrush. Neuropathy. Increased risk for heart disease. Loneliness. Depression. Suicidal. Images that would blow ones mind back into reality: HIV/AIDS STILL KILLS. And in more ways than one. It’s 2015 and close to 15,000 die each year from AIDS in the U.S. alone. And twice as many discover the true reality of an HIV diagnosis: that it sucks. And is no way to live – if you don’t have to. I’m an HIV negative man who’s grateful I came of age when you knew HIV was no walk in the park – it was a killer. The early 90’s had just enough death and destruction lingering to show me the way. And now what do young men have? Grindr + no real reminder. Which when you think about it = a new kind of death.

    It’s a sad state of affairs for those who believe one pill a day is ok. No prob. No worries. WTF’s the big deal with catching an STD or HIV? They’re manageable “conditions.”
    They’ve got pills and now PreP. Woohoo! Let’s party. Who cares! It’ll all be ok.

    If the so-called slut shaming billboards is what it takes to wake them up. To help them avoid those “dirty” STD’s. Help them to stay healthy, vibrant, and HIV- then I say put em up. And put em up everywhere.

    The only shame I see is that we still don’t get it. +30 years into this epidemic and still so many lost souls. And what about those precious souls who went before us, the ones whom I loved, who suffered and died so we wouldn’t have to. And for what? So some could whimper and whine about a couple of truth telling billboards? Wow. Mind numbing.

    It’s 2016. Wake. Up. Slut shaming is the least of our problems considering what’s still happening. Larry Kramer. God rest his soul.

  3. Flores St.Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 11:10 am

    @Luca, I don’t know… what would I rather have… a potentially asymptomatic STD or a cold/cough/runny nose that lingers for a month. Oh, I know.

  4. Jimmy PalmieriWed, Oct 21, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    As I ignore Luca d’s judgment I will say just how thrilled I am that our city has this facility in it. What a great gift to those who need testing, treatment in a non-judgmental environment. I loved the SPOT and its employees, and I know I will love this facility also. Keep up the good work folks I can’t wait for a tour.

  5. SEWed, Oct 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for confirming my point, Luca.

  6. RandyWed, Oct 21, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    SE, I agree. AHF’s slut-shaming is deplorable. Their billboards are insulting and embarrassing to the community (“Trust him?” springs to mind). LAGLC focuses on getting people tested, and where necessary, treated. As well as preventative measures, such as PrEP *and* condoms (all options are on the table).

    I’m very impressed with what LAGLC did with that space, and it is a welcome addition to have something that isn’t a bar or restaurant on the gay strip. Something for the community (and twice the space of “The Spot”).

    Yes, Luca, people lie, and a lot of people don’t even know their status. So with PrEP, you are in control of your risk factor, with regard to HIV. Regarding other STD’s, I’m guessing that most people get treated if they know they have something (why wouldn’t they?), and I guess in some cases, might go out and spread the STD’s to others before their treatment goes into full effect. But I’m guessing that is a small minority of people.

  7. luca dWed, Oct 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    sorry se, i’d rather get a cold than some dirty, yes dirty std, that certain people never want to disclose until they are confronted.
    i know that ‘judgement’ is not pc, but frankly, until certain people are honest about what they are spreading around town, we have to point up the obvious. people lie.

  8. Flores St.Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I was at the grand opening event and the place is a great improvement. We are privileged to live in a place with such resources. I’ll be making my first visit soon.

  9. SEWed, Oct 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Such a different approach to sex than AHF’s horrifically shaming billboards that have actually referred to people with STDs as “dirty” and perpetuate America’s negative, prudish attitudes toward sex. I understand that certain diseases are only spread through sexual contact, but let’s not forget that colds and flus are also spread through sexual contact. Let’s stop making STDs seem shameful so people will actively seek testing/treatment.

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