SFCHC’s LaVida Care program provides access to free STI, STD, HIV testing and prevention in a safe and supportive environment. Patients receive medications that protect or fight against HIV infection, which can allow them to stay healthy for many years and not sexually transmit the virus to others.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows there are more than 36,000 new HIV infections each year. However, only 87 out of 100 people with HIV know they have the virus. Unfortunately, many individuals who are at high-risk of HIV often face economic, cultural and geographic barriers to healthcare.
LaVida Care helps patients find the treatment option that’s best for them. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), offered in both oral and injectable forms, is a medication that prevents infection for people who are HIV negative with high-risk behaviors. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication that prevents permanent HIV infection after possible exposure.
SFCHC also participates in L.A. Condom, a program that provides free condoms for distribution at businesses, clinics and venues throughout L.A. County. The LaVida Care team has distributed condoms at the California State University, Northridge Pride Center, San Fernando Valley Pride 2022, Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Sylmar Charter High School, DTLA Proud 2022 and Burbank Pride, among other venues and events. The Center also partners with the L.A. County Department of Public Health to provide in-home HIV test kits.
Dr. Christopher Angara, HIV Program Manager and Clinical Pharmacist/PrEP Provider, says SFCHC is uniquely positioned to expand access to PrEP. “One of our main goals is to increase Tele-PrEP, which allows patients to receive test kits and a prescription at home through telemedicine,” he said. “As one of only a few clinics in the San Fernando Valley that offer all forms of PrEP medication, we can administer Apretude, an injectable form of PrEP that is appropriate for those who have problems taking the pill form due to an adherence issue, side effects or drug interactions.”
The LaVida Care program invites all patients to take charge of their own health by receiving whole-person care. For more information, visit www.lavidacare.org.