About APLA Health
APLA Health restores dignity and trust within underserved communities by providing world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, support services, and HIV specialty care.
In October 1982, the four founders of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA)—Nancy Cole Sawaya, Matt Redman, Ervin Munro, and Max Drew—attended an emergency meeting at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. The meeting featured a presentation by a representative from San Francisco’s Kaposi’s Sarcoma Foundation about Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease (GRID), one of the early names for AIDS.
Because fears about the new disease were rampant, these four friends set up a telephone hotline to answer questions from the community. They gathered the limited information available and began hotline training, with twelve volunteers in the initial group. The hotline was operated from a closet in the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, where volunteers answered a single telephone and read information from a one-page fact sheet.
Realizing that funds were needed to educate the community and prevent the spread of the disease, the founders enlisted the help of other friends (who became many of APLA’s early volunteers) and held a Christmas benefit. The party raised more than $7,000, which became the seed money for a new organization. Recognizing that AIDS was not just a gay disease, the founders named the organization AIDS Project Los Angeles. The first board of directors was elected on January 14, 1983.