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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Partners With AltaMed Health Services to Launch City of Los Angeles HIV Testing Initiative

Initiative to Focus on Testing 1 Million Angelenos Within Three Years

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- AltaMed Health Services played host to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today as he launched the City of Los Angeles HIV Testing Initiative, which seeks to test 1 million Angelenos within the next three years. The Mayor tested for HIV at AltaMed's Medical and Dental group in the Ramona Gardens community to underscore the importance of "early testing" within the Latino community.

A study conducted by the California Department of Health Office of AIDS indicates the number of Latinos with AIDS increased nearly 128% between 1996 and 2006. This is due in part to a disturbing trend that indicates Latinos are "late testers" often diagnosed with HIV six months to one-year before they contract AIDS. AIDS is the leading cause of death for male Latinos ages 22-44 and the second cause of death for Latinas in the same age group. Early detection is critical to ensure HIV patients have access to medical treatment that can improve their chances of leading long and healthy lives.

"We commend the Mayor for his leadership on this issue and are proud to support his effort to make HIV testing and counseling more routine and accessible," said Castulo de la Rocha, president and CEO of AltaMed Health Services. "AltaMed is at the forefront of providing culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS care and services to Latinos. Together with our community partners, the Latino Coalition Against AIDS, and the City of Los Angeles, we are fully committed to expanded testing, to getting Latinos diagnosed earlier and to connecting them with the necessary care and treatment."

The AltaMed HIV Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) was on hand to administer free HIV tests to the community of Ramona Gardens. The MTU is just one of many services offered by AltaMed specifically tailored for the Latino community that include mental health, medical treatment, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, access to clinical trials, educational and advocacy programs, support groups and individual and family case management. In keeping with the AltaMed tradition of quality, all services are patient centered and administered by medical professionals highly skilled in the field of medicine and the prevention of HIV.

"Treating those with HIV and AIDS requires skill and compassion, both of which you will find at AltaMed," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I commend them for their leadership in the fight against AIDS, providing the latest treatments and helping their patients cope with the disease."

AltaMed's HIV/AIDS Services are available through the MTU and five AltaMed Clinics located throughout the Greater East Los Angeles area. For more information on AltaMed's HIV/AIDS services call (323) 869-5450 or visit the East Los Angeles -- Commerce Clinic located at 5427 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90002.


AltaMed Health Services, a private nonprofit organization, is a major provider of health and human services in the Greater Los Angeles area and the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the State of California. The mission of AltaMed is to provide high quality, coordinated, comprehensive health and human services to the underserved in Southern California, with particular attention to Latino and multi-ethnic populations. AltaMed began as the East Los Angeles Barrio Free Clinic in 1969, a volunteer-staff storefront providing basic medical services. Today AltaMed's services area extends beyond East Los Angeles, to the immediately surrounding and contiguous Greater East Los Angeles area.

SOURCE AltaMed Health Services Corporation
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