Today, thanks to better treatments, people are living with HIV. LifeLong offers a range of services in HIV care and treatment at East Oakland Health Center, Ashby Health Center, Downtown Oakland Health Center, Trust Health Center, William Jenkins Health Center, and East Bay Community Recovery Project (EBCRP), in addition to working through partners like the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center.
In the 1980s, once a test for HIV was developed, people had to wait weeks for a result. Today, someone can get a rapid test with results in 20 minutes and confirmation from a blood test in a few days. To combat the dramatic decline in HIV testing rates due to the pandemic, LifeLong also began mailing at-home HIV testing kits. A positive result links the patient with a case manager. Someone who tests negative is offered PrEP. LifeLong also set up HIV testing near COVID test sites, offering tests to people waiting in line.
At LifeLong, preventing HIV infections among African American and Latino men is a prime concern. Although African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses.
“Definitely the majority of persons who are coming in are Black and Latinx and are low-income or working-class,” says Family Nurse Practitioner Layla Welborn. “I think having a center to go to that offers sexual health, it just flags safety for people seeking that care.”