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.”
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.