By Miguel Escalante
AIDs Healthcare Foundation visits ELAC once a month to test students and inform them on HIV/AIDS and prevention.
Almost 40 years ago AIDS was an epidemic no one knew anything about and many have lost their battles with the disease since then.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation was created in 1987 to help inform and assist the public of AIDS and HIV.
AHF is Los Angeles-based and a global non-profit organization. The organization has helped over one million people in 43 countries around the world according to their website.
As of right now, AHF only has support from the Student Health Center on campus.
They would like to get support from multiple departments to help reach the masses. Saucedo said that on average, they test about 30-40 people in four hours and would like to increase those numbers.
The goal of AHF when they come to college campuses, like ELAC, is to educate as many people as possible and try to correct the stigma that comes along with HIV.
AHF’s mission is to rid the world of AIDS. They try to accomplish this through a network of pharmacies, thrift stores, healthcare contracts and other partnerships, like the one with ELAC.
There are about 25 million people who are unaware they are infected and AHF wants to provide those individuals with assistance, healthcare and information.
Saucedo urges students to use condoms, as they are highly effective in preventing HIV transmission, discuss sexual histories with partners and have sober sex, because one is less likely to use protection when under the influence.
The test itself is a free confidential, but not anonymous, one-minute HIV test.
The test includes a small finger prick on either the ring or middle finger of the non-dominant hand.
The test looks for antibodies and it normally takes about two weeks before antibodies can be detected from the time you were infected.
The window period for the HIV antibodies to be detected is anywhere from two weeks to three months.
Regardless of the time frame, AHF recommends getting tested every three months if you are sexually active.
AHF wants to create and implement new programs in communities in the U.S. and across the world with the aim to save more lives.
Not only do they offer free HIV testing, but they also test for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) as well.
In the last five years, gonorrhea has gone up 67% and syphilis (both primary and secondary) has increased to 76%, according to the AHF website.
AHF is closely associated with www.freestdcheck.org, a website that shows different locations for people to have free STD testing.
AHF’s current goal is to have 20 million on treatment by 2020 and currently 15 million are on treatment worldwide.
There is two locations in the vicinity of ELAC, both in the East LA area AHF Healthcare Center at 5301 E. Beverly Blvd, which is a free medical clinic, diagnosis center, birth control center and blood testing center.
The other AHF Pharmacy is located at 5356 Whittier Blvd in which is also a free clinic, birth control center and pharmacy.
For more information visit their website at www.aidshealth.org or call 323-860-5200.