“The Los Angeles LGBT community saved the day."
Lorri L. Jean, the CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, thanked queer Angelenos Tuesday for pressuring L.A. County supervisors and the director of the county's Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, to restore funding for STI testing.
The center had released an urgent notice Monday informing the community that the DPH had cut resources under a new plan, which would have prevented it from offering free tests for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
"From phone calls to tweets and emails, their voices were heard and ultimately saved these vital services for our community,” Jean said. “It’s a potent reminder of the strength, tenacity, and resilience of our community.”
As a result of this advocacy, the center has reached a temporary agreement with the DPH, which has restored funds until March.
“Services were saved and are continuing — for now. That is crucial,” said Jean. “And, between now and the end of March, we will work with Dr. Ferrer and the Department of Public Health to find a long-term solution that ensures care and treatment for our community. We are hopeful, but nothing is guaranteed. Clearly our community stands at the ready to re-engage should this become necessary.”
In California and L.A. County, the number of STI cases has skyrocketed in recent years and reached record highs for cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Los Angeles has seen an alarming 98 percent increase in syphilis over the past five years. The LGBTQ community is considered an at-risk group, making the services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center all the more needed.
For more information on testing services, visit LALGBTCcenter.org.