AHF’s New Retro Pod Streamlines Free HIV Testing–WeHo Media Avail

In Featured, News by Ged Kenslea

State-of-the-art, solar-powered, and self-contained Care-a-Van makes HIV and STI testing even more efficient and accessible on National HIV Testing Day


Media Availability and Live Shot Location: West Hollywood, Thursday, June 27thstarting at 6:00 a.m.

LOS ANGELES (June 26, 2024) – AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is making its free HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing services even more efficient and accessible just in time for National HIV Testing Day on June 27, 2024. AHF’s new Care-a-Van pod – believed to be the first of its kind anywhere—is a solar-powered, completely self-contained unit with two testing rooms.

The retro-looking, Airstream-like trailer was designed by AHF and paid for by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. AHF plans to tow and park the pod semi-permanently in certain targeted high-traffic/high-risk areas like West Hollywood along Santa Monica Boulevard and at large community gatherings like Pride celebrations and music festivals.


WHAT:              MEDIA AVAILABILITY: AHF launches new, state-of-the-art mobile HIV & STI testing pod

WHEN:             Thursday, June 27th 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for National HIV Testing Day (June 27th)

WHERE:            In front of Bank of America    –     8921 W. Santa Monica Blvd. (corner Hilldale Ave.) West Hollywood, CA 90069

WHO:               AHF Public Health Division staff


B-ROLL:             Tours of the new testing pod and HIV testing demonstrations   Link: Care-a-Van video clips                   

“The new pods will be far cheaper than AHF’s traditional mobile HIV testing units, far less likely to break down, and less susceptible to catalytic converter theft as they have no traditional motor,” said Alex Goncalves, Senior Director, AHF’s Public Health Division. “Solar panels on the roof power the pod and its equipment, and AHF was fortunate to be able to register on the First Responders’ cell network so we can remain connected in high cellphone traffic areas. We also can do additional STI testing on these pods, an important added benefit, given the rise in syphilis and other STIs, including those that may require a blood draw.”

Rates of STIs have continued to increase sharply over the past three years, including in Los Angeles County.

According to the CDC, “There were over 2.5 million reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia in 2022. Syphilis cases increased 80 percent in the past five years and congenital syphilis increased an alarming 937 percent in the past decade.”


According to LA County Division of HIV and STD Programs, in 2021, 1,518 people in LA County were newly diagnosed with HIV, up from 1,414 persons in 2020. At the time of diagnoses, eight percent were classified as having acute HIV (i.e., infected within 60 days prior to HIV diagnosis) and 19% were classified as having late-stage HIV.


In its announcement accompanying the release of the 2022 STI statistics, the CDC noted, “We cannot continue to use decades-old prevention strategies to address today’s STI epidemic. People need testing and treatment to meet them where they are. We know treatment is not always received in traditional healthcare settings. We must continue supporting opportunities and initiatives that enhance and expand STI service delivery, care, monitoring, research, and training.”                                                                                                                                                                                         

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