VAN NUYS : Guide to AIDS Services Available

The first comprehensive guide for HIV/AIDS services in the San Fernando Valley and a bus bench campaign promising “Confidentiality and Caring” to the economically disadvantaged were unveiled Thursday at the Valley HIV/AIDS Center’s open house celebration.

Ana Vargas, project coordinator, said that until she started compiling the list of HIV agencies and services, she thought she would only have enough material for a brochure. Instead, she spent months putting together “Quick Look: The Guide to HIV/AIDS Services in the San Fernando Valley,” a 30-page directory with a segment on safer sex, which will be available free at the center and at Valley clinics.

The Valley Center in Van Nuys has provided counseling and case management for two years. With its clientele numbering in the hundreds--and growing due to the 220 bench ads placed throughout low-income neighborhoods--the center hopes to move out of its small office at the Sherman Way Plaza. Other plans for expansion include a bilingual case management center in the Antelope Valley.

John Maceri, executive director of the Homestead Hospice and Shelter in Los Angeles, has been actively involved in expanding services for HIV-positive residents of the San Fernando Valley. Maceri said most HIV cases in the Valley are among minorities.


Bilingual case manager Ileana Rosas said many of her Spanish-speaking clients did not consider themselves at risk of being infected by HIV because they do not consider themselves gay or bisexual, even if they have had same-sex partners.

“With Latina women, if they ask their husbands, ‘Here, wear this condom’ it’s like breaking their marriage,” Rosas said, explaining one of the most difficult problems in HIV prevention in the Latino community.