Echo Park resident benefits weekly from APLA Health

KOREATOWN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Raul Amezquita, 48, was diagnosed with HIV in 2003.

He's originally from Mexico but has lived in Echo Park for more than 20 years.

About once a week, he goes to APLA Health in Koreatown to receive health benefits.

"I benefit from APLA by getting my dentist. I get my checkup every six months. Also, it's my main source of food," said Amezquita.

In 2018, APLA Health gave out more than 100,000 bags of groceries to people in need.

"A lot of our clients access our food bank because it's a necessity," said APLA Health program coordinator Emmanuel Sanchez-Ramos.

"Food is one of those things where if we can eliminate that worry for you, then you can worry about things that need more urgency," said Sanchez-Ramos.

In order to qualify for the food bank, you have to have be an L.A. County resident, have an annual income of less than $24,000, attend a nutrition course offered by APLA Health, have a photo ID and HIV status.

And at the moment, Amezquita's health is at an all-time high. He's undetectable.

"At the beginning I didn't know what was going to happen. It takes time to understand the situation and to know that all you have to do is take your medication and be healthy," he said.

"You've got to be positive all the time," said Amezquita.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles raises much-needed funds for APLA Health and +20 other HIV/AIDS service organizations.

The event takes place this Sunday in downtown Los Angeles.

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