December 5, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

WeHo Releases HIV Stigma Survey

The City of West Hollywood has released a survey asking participants about the stigma they have experienced as a result of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Launched by the City’s Social Services Division, the survey is only one part of HIV Zero, a city-wide initiative to reduce HIV/AIDS infection and conversion rates in the City of West Hollywood.

“A goal of the survey is to understand how stigma impacts access to care and overall health and wellness,” according to a press release issued by the City of West Hollywood.

The population of West Hollywood suffers disproportionately high rates of people living with HIV and people recently diagnosed with the virus. As of 2014, there are over 13 times more recently diagnosed cases of HIV in West Hollywood than within Los Angeles County, according to data cited in the HIV Zero Strategic Plan.

More broadly, as a part of HIV Zero, the City is pursuing four goals: Expanding HIV-related health care, reducing new HIV infections, fighting against HIV-related inequity in the health care system, and slowing rates of HIV/AIDS conversion. “West Hollywood defines the end of the epidemic as the point in time when new infections dip and stay below the number of AIDS-related deaths,” according to the HIV Zero Strategic Plan.

The survey is most interested in those who “live, work, own, spend a significant amount of time, or are homeless in West Hollywood.”

The survey looks into the relationship between participants and their doctors. It asks, for example, if you feel comfortable discussing your sex life with your doctor or health provider, or if you feel that your doctor or health provider disrespects you because of your gender identity or sexual orientation? The survey even probes into the source of any discrimination—is it the provider, a nurse, a security guard at the front gate?

In coordination with the online survey, the Social Services Division hosted two “Pop-Up” events in October where locals won prizes for filling out a survey in person. The Pop-Ups were held on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.; and on Wednesday, October 18, at 8595 Santa Monica Blvd.

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