Los Angeles HIV clinic in danger of losing its space

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Researchers at a Los Angeles County AIDS clinic say they’re being unfairly booted out of their space by the University of Southern California.

LA County’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent/Adult Center has offered care to HIV-infected people since 1988. It’s been operating out of the USC-owned Health Research Association building on Marengo Street, near where the 5 and 10 freeways intersect, since 1996.

The center is a public-private partnership funded almost entirely by federal research grants. Their lease expires at the end of June. But the building housing the HIV clinic is now for sale.

An internal USC memo says money raised by the sale would go toward funding clinical trial investigators. The HIV center claims they are the only tenant in the building being told to vacate.

USC released a statement saying the school has been working for over a year with the clinic director to ensure a smooth transition and no reduction in services. But the clinic’s Community Advisory Board says they were told of the decision two months ago, on March 25, 2013.

LA County has allocated an alternate space for the clinic, but it’s much smaller – 3,000 square feet, compared to the 17,000 they have now. Researchers say that’s not enough space for the 60 staff members and over 1,100 patients they serve regularly, along with medical students and interns. And they say the move will likely disrupt the quality medical care needed to reduce HIV transmission.

The HIV clinic’s researchers have scheduled a protest Thursday at 10:30 a.m. outside the main entrance to the LA County/USC Medical Center.