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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Partners With AltaMed Health Services to Launch City of Los Angeles HIV Testing Initiative
Date:11/30/2007

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
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SOURCE AltaMed Health Services Corporation
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