As part of its recognition of World AIDS Day 2017, the City of West Hollywood has produced and released a short video called “Getting to Zero” that features an emotionally captivating interview with Jeffrey Rodriguez, program manager of the Los Angeles LGBT Center WeHo’s sexual health education program, and highlights the city’s work on its “HIV Zero” future.
The video, shown above, will be screened tonight at the annual Paul Starke Warrior Awards, following the World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil, information about which is posted below.
HIV and AIDS have had a disproportionate impact in the City of West Hollywood, 40% of whose population is composed of gay men, who have an exceptionally high risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The city’s HIV Zero Strategic Plan outlines a plan to “get to zero” on many fronts: zero new infections; zero progression of HIV to AIDS; zero discrimination; and zero stigma. For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s HIV Zero Strategic Plan, please visit.
A recent report from the city’s Human Services & Rent Stabilization Department calls out the four goals of the city’s HIV Zero initiative, which are increasing access to healthcare for people living with HIV and people at an elevated risk for acquiring HIV, reducing new HIV infections, reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequalities and slowing disease progression from HIV to AIDS.
The report explains work the city has done in the past year to collect West Hollywood-specific data on HIV infection and treatment to track the progress of the HIV Zero initiative. It shows that the group mostly likely to acquire HIV in West Hollywood is young men aged 18 to 34, who have an HIV infection rate of 57.7 per 10,000 residents versus 31.6 per 10,000 residents for men aged 35 to 44 and 8.9 per 10,000 for men aged 45 and older.
The report shows that 18 to 34-year-old group also is the least likely to have adequate health insurance. Data from 2015 shows that 78.7% had adequate health insurance while 85% of those 35 and over had such insurance.
The city’s HIV Zero plan can be downloaded from the city’s website.
World AIDS Day Events in West Hollywood
West Hollywood Candlelight Vigil. The City of West Hollywood’s annual World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil and March and Paul Starke Warrior Awards event will take place, with the candlelight vigil beginning at 6 p.m. at the Matthew Shepard Triangle, located at the corner of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights boulevards. Candles will be provided. The walk will pass by plaques on the West Hollywood Memorial Walk on Santa Monica Boulevard, which memorializes people who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. The candlelight march is presented in conjunction with the Alliance for Housing and Healing and several community organizations.
West Hollywood Paul Starke Awards. Participants in WeHo’s AIDS Candlelight Vigil will march to City Council Chambers at West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, where, at 7 p.m., immediately following the march, the Paul Starke Warrior Awards program will take place. The awards recognize individuals who provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS. The event will feature guest speaker Laurie McBride, who is an LGBTQ activist and former California Assistant Secretary of State, and the Being Alive Musical Globe Display. The event is free and open to the public, and RSVPs are requested online www.whwad.eventbrite.com. Validated parking will be provided in the adjacent five-story parking structure.
AIDSWatch. Beginning this morning at 12:01 a.m., the City of West Hollywood continued its annual tradition of broadcasting AIDSWatch on WeHoTV. AIDSWatch is a 24-hour electronic art piece and memorial that takes place each year on World AIDS Day. It presents one name, one memory, one life at a time, appearing on a black screen in stark white letters. The AIDWatch roster of names also can be seen online from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday at www.aidswatch.org.
The AIDSWatch roster consists of approximately 25,000 names individually shown for about 3.5 seconds, the length it takes to take one breath. Residents and community members who have lost family or friends to AIDS are encouraged to include them in AIDSWatch; names may be added at www.aidswatch.org. WeHoTV is available to Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) customers within the City of West Hollywood on channel 10. AT&T U-verse customers across Southern California can access WeHoTV on channel 99. Viewers at home can tune-in to WeHoTV online at www.weho.org/wehotv.
AIDSWatch also will be projected on the north-facing exterior wall of the West Hollywood Library.