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Regardless of background, those afflicted with AIDS...

<i> Russell is a Los Angeles free-lance writer</i>

Regardless of background, those afflicted with AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses feel the financial strain of the prolonged illness as medical costs accrue and time is lost from work.

Many who suffer from acquired immune deficiency syndrome are eligible for government assistance, but there is often a time lag before benefits become available. In the interim, many must struggle to meet their basic needs.

Another common problem is a sense of emotional and social isolation. Illness keeps some AIDS sufferers homebound, and rejection by co-workers, neighbors and even friends and family members is not uncommon.

One bright spot in this grim story is the number of religious and community organizations that are feeding, sheltering and providing companionship and support to those in need.

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Following is a sampling of such groups in the Southland. All are nonprofit organizations staffed primarily by volunteers, and all offer services free of charge and without regard to the race, age, sex or religious affiliation of recipients. A few receive partial funding from governmental sources, but all are dependent on donations to continue to meet the needs of their growing clientele.

AIDS Project Los Angeles, Development Department, 3670 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300, Los Angeles, Calif. 90010, (213) 380-2000. A food bank, a residential facility, home health care, a dental clinic and a “buddy” program are among the numerous services offered by this agency with the participation of more than 1,000 volunteers. The service area includes all of Los Angeles County.

In the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, the Inland AIDS Project, 3638 University Ave., Suite 223, Riverside, Calif. 92501, provides services such as a “buddy” program, cash assistance, a shelter home and professional group counseling. A transportation program helps clients who must travel long distances to providers of medical services. An interfaith clergy network is also affiliated with the group. Telephone (714) 784-AIDS.

Minority AIDS Project, 5149 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90016, (213) 936-4949. Originally a program of the Unity Fellowship of Christ Church, this group serves residents of all races of the Los Angeles inner city. A “buddy” program pairs trained volunteers with clients who need companionship and assistance with activities such as shopping and cooking. Other services include a residential shelter, emergency food and clothing and direct financial aid.

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Light of Life, c/o Metropolitan Community Church in the Valley, 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood, Calif. 91601, (213) 24-LIGHT, or (818) 70-LIGHT. A 24-hour telephone service offers assistance with transportation, cooking and shopping, as well as emotional support to San Fernando Valley residents with AIDS and ARC (AIDS-related complex) and their care givers.

All Saints AIDS Service Center, 78 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, Calif. 91101, (818) 796-5633. Now independently incorporated, this program originated with the All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena. Professionally led support groups help to meet the emotional needs of clients with AIDS and ARC, along with their care givers and also those who test positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Among the support groups is one for teen-agers whose parents have AIDS. Currently the center’s youngest client is a 5-year-old boy whose father has AIDS.

Aid for AIDS, 8235 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 200, West Hollywood, Calif. 90046, (213) 656-1107. This group provides disabled AIDS and ARC sufferers awaiting government benefits with cash grants to purchase basic necessities. The grants can be used for rent, utilities and prescription drugs.

Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, 6855 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 408, Los Angeles, Calif. 90038, (213) 962-8197. Emotional-support services are provided. Ill clients are paired with trained volunteers. The bereaved and those involved in the lives of the sick meet in group sessions. There are support groups conducted in American Sign Language for the deaf and hearing-impaired (for TTD machine, call (213) 273-7217).

Serra Ancillary Care Corp., 251 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 202, Glendale, Calif. 91203, (818) 507-4344. Funds provided by local Catholic hospitals and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles launched this organization, which is now independently incorporated. It currently operates a residential facility in central Los Angeles, the first of 10 planned for various Southern California locations. Residents are charged according to their ability to pay; they receive room and board and personal care from certified nursing assistants.

AIDS Services Foundation, 1685 Babcock St., Suite A, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92627, (714) 646-0411. Support groups, a residence, a food bank and practical assistance with transportation and household tasks are among the services this organization provides to Orange County residents who have AIDS.

Foothill AIDS Project, P.O. Box 2321, Pomona, Calif. 91769, (714) 620-0359. Emotional support is provided through professional group and individual counseling and by trained volunteers assigned to individual clients, most of whom are residents of Pomona or the San Gabriel Valley. Food and clothing are distributed.

Being Alive, 4222 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 105, Los Angeles, Calif. 90029, (213) 667-3262. Teaching those who have tested positive for the HIV virus how to prevent their illness from progressing is the goal of a new educational program sponsored by this organization, which is a coalition of Los Angeles County residents who have AIDS. Physicians representing several of the Southland’s major health care providers, including the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, supervise the program.

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The organization also offers other educational programs in addition to support groups and information and referral services for people with AIDS.


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