With reputed nurse practitioner Lonnie Calvin heading up the latest AIDS Healthcare Foundation wellness center on Western Avenue, gay health is looking ever brighter and more distinguished in Los Angeles. Offering comprehensive care that includes free HIV and STD screenings, this edition of AHF is slated to be their largest location west of the Mississippi–so it kind of seems appropriate that it should be located at 1811 N. Western Avenue and also be known as Western on Wellness Center.
Created with the intent to make basic sexual healthcare convenient and shame-free, AHF centers are accordingly structured with easy accessibility and convenience in the hope of increasing regular testing among the LGBTQ+ community. That being said, the most significant free services available are screenings and treatments for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, as well as HIV testing.
Led by Calvin, who has years of medical experience in the field, the ambitiousness of the center speaks volumes about L.A.’s value of a population so often undervalued in other cities and states. What’s more, AHF is open Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. for optimal patient assistance. In addition to encouraging habitual HIV and STD testing as an essential part of gay healthcare, AHF also aims to make its patients feel as comfortable and safe as possible via its discretion-loving environment. As the director of the organization, Albert Ruiz, put it, AHF seeks to “offer STD and HIV screenings for sexually active adults in a convenient, confidential environment.”
Because half the battle of enlisting the help of a medical professional is fear. But with the friendly, no judgment ambiance of AHF, perspectives about the displeasure of going to the doctor for information pertaining to one’s sexual well-being is bound to change. Already operating in twenty-one locations throughout the U.S., the AHF’s expansion to Western Avenue is a sign that even during a year of harrowing political decisions not at all tailored to make LGBTQ+ community members feel even remotely safe or respected, there are organizations that truly care.
Thus, Angelenos would be as foolish as the orange one not to take advantage of this unique and rare beacon of queer-oriented free health care.