On November 15, the city of West Hollywood will host a discussion forum called “HIV Game Change 2012—The State of HIV/AIDS in West Hollywood,” featuring educators, doctors, and others who will discuss the changing culture of HIV/AIDS and its potential effects on gay males in West Hollywood and neighboring cities. City Councilman John D’Amico, who has HIV, declared that West Hollywood (Weho) has a responsibility to discuss HIV/AIDS because of the great number of Weho residents with the disease. “I think it’s important for our city, which is the epicenter of HIV and AIDS in LA County, to step up and talk about a changing epidemic,” explained D’Amico. Forty percent of the current Weho population is gay, and 25 percent of the gay population is living with HIV—meaning that approximately 10 percent of Weho residents have the disease. D’Amico stated that a major point of the forum will deal with what is true for the sex lives of gay men, those with HIV, and those that do not have the disease.
Alex Garner, editor-at-large for PositiveFrontiers.com, will speak at the discussion forum. Garner has had HIV for the past 17 years, even though doctors only gave him 10 to 15 years to live when he was first diagnosed. He has lived a healthy and fulfilling life due to the advancements in HIV/AIDS treatment. Garner emphasized that the discussion forum’s focus on November 15 will be education about advancements that continue to be made. Other speakers include Eric Gutierrez, Health Policy Director for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, and Christopher Brown, Director of Health and Mental Health Services with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. “HIV Game Change 2012—The State of HIV/AIDS in West Hollywood” will begin at 7:30 p.m., November 15, in the Community Room at the West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.