HIV/AIDS in Hollywood

What is Hollywood?

Located in California, northwest of downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, formerly known as Hollywoodland,  is a neighbourhood within the city that began as a small neighbourhood that was a housing project, that slowly grew into a community of motion picture producers that fled from the east to escape lawsuit, to an admired paradise that  is known around the world as the home of western-world entertainment. Whether that be music, film, television, or art many associate the neighbourhood of Hollywood with the biggest of names when it comes to entertainment. Since the beginning of the boom in the entertainment industry, due to the glitz and glamour of the select bunch that went to Hollywood and succeeded, many young artists viewed Hollywood as a gateway from the rags to fame and riches. This phenomenon resulted in Los Angeles becoming a rapidly growing city due to the abundance of artists moving to the city in hope to become a name that resonates from Hollywood and out into the world.

HIV/AIDS in Hollywood

During the 1980’s in the United States, the status of the American population was in a chaotic state due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic running rampant through major cities throughout the country included Los Angeles, California. Since then Americans have been educated on HIV/AIDS and how to prevent from contracting the disease and practice a safer way of living. Unfortunately, to date, HIV/AIDS is a social and health issue in the United States, especially in Los Angeles, that does not seem to be coming to a near end. I began to wonder as to why it’s still an issue despite the fact that the world has advanced in medicine since the 1980’s. Then I thought to question the culture of Los Angeles rather than question why HIV/AIDS is still an issue even though there’s been a progression in medicine.

Learning about the culture of Hollywood, I’ve come to know that the lifestyle of those who were involved within the industry tied to Hollywood lived a lifestyle. One significant aspect of the culture in Hollywood was the nightlife within the city and the involvement of those in the entertainment industry. Labelled as a ‘city of sin’ Los Angeles became the symbol of a city that meets the needs of those who live a lifestyle of vice among major cities in America, closest competition to the city of Los Angeles being Las Vegas, Nevada. With many popular night clubs, casinos, and an enormous amount of privately hosted parties across the city it is no doubt Los Angeles has a wild side to it. Los Angeles is home to many world renowned sex symbols such as Marilyn Monroe, Farrah Fawcett, and the Playboy Mansion. Stated by Karley Sciortino, journalist for VICE Media, Los Angeles has been considered a city of sin since the 1800’s and became a city of sex trade starting in the 1950’s.

Information provided by the AIDS Coordinator’s Office of Los Angeles gives insight as to the results of the nightlife of the ‘city of sin’. “Los Angeles has an estimated population of 3.9 million people in an area of approximately 470 square miles with a rich diversity of culture and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Since the epidemic began 31 years ago, about 31,000 individuals have been diagnosed with AIDS, 13,000 of them still are living. As of December 31, 2009, there are approximately 27,000 individuals living with HIV or AIDS in the City.” (ACOLA) In the chart provided by ACOLA we learn the statistics of the rate at which the racial/ethnic make up of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is in the years 1991, 2007, and 2010.  In 1991, roughly 20% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were to Whites, roughly 26% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were to African Americans, roughly 48% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were to Latinos/Hispanics, and roughly 6% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were to Asian/Pacific Islanders. Then we learn that there is a dramatic shift in the racial and ethnic make up of the rate diagnoses with Whites being 50% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2010 as apposed to all other people of colour being the other 50% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2010. This information was rattling to me as to why there was such a dramatic shift of who is the majority of the HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Unfortunately I was not able to find specific information as to why but hopefully the question can be answered.


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