AltaMed wants to distribute 125,000 condoms this year.
The Southern California healthcare provider is starting on Friday in Silver Lake with a public launch of its “Top, Vers, Bottom, Condom Campaign.”
The evening at MJ's on Hyperion Avenue from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.will include free HIV testing, condoms, food, music and dancing, trivia games, raffle prizes and a photo booth.
PATCH spoke with AltaMed HIV Director Thomas Siegmeth about the firm's efforts to combat HIV in Los Angeles.
PATCH: What positive news has AltaMed learned about HIV?
While we’re seeing rates of new infections decline, we still have work to do. Events like our condom release campaign are aimed to bring awareness that HIV is not a death sentence, and that safe sex doesn’t have to mean boring sex. Condom use also continues to be the most cost effective way to prevent HIV and STDS.
We are also dealing with a younger generation who are unaware of the impact that HIV had in the 80s and 90s when HIV was a death sentence. As a result, there continues to be a need for education and empowerment for the LGBT community to make decisions that keep them safe and healthy in the long-term.
PATCH: What are barriers to change?
In order to encourage safer sex and condom use there has to be a greater association with pleasure. AltaMed is doing more to address sex and sexuality in our HIV Prevention programs. The more we can sexualize condoms and associate condom use with pleasure instead of STDs, dirty, or taboo, the better we will be at increasing condom use.
PATCH: What can people expect Friday?
There will be a “Condom Olympics” area in the patio that consists of condom games such as a cock ring toss and a condom dildo race. Small prizes will be provided to the winners. The HIV prevention team will also have a few dance moves to hype up the energy of the event.
PATCH: AltaMed was born in Boyle Heights 40 years ago. What is the mission today?
To care for the underserved communities of Southern California. This means regardless of ability to pay, patients can be seen at our location. We provide care for the entire patient—medical, dental, behavioral health, health education, preventative medicine and more—so that our patients have a medical home, essentially a team of care providers who work with them on their overall wellness.
Alta Med continues to provide Free HIV Testing in the community with results in 20 minutes.
Find out more about AltaMed's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the above video.
MJs is located on 2810 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
AltaMed’s HIV Commerce Clinic is located on 5427 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90022.