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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a Los Angeles-based global nonprofit provider of HIV prevention services, testing, and healthcare for HIV patients. AHF currently claims to provide medical care and services to more than 600,000 individuals in 15 U.S. states and 36 countries worldwide.
In 1987, activists Chris Brownlie, Michael Weinstein, Sharon Raphael, PhD, Mina Meyer, MA, and other advocates were among the earliest champions of the AIDS hospice movement as co-founders of the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Committee, the catalyst organization which gave rise to the AIDS Hospice Foundation and, ultimately, to today’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
As members of the inaugural AIDS Hospice Committee, Brownlie, Weinstein, Myer, Raphael, Paul Coleman and others were involved with the planning and negotiations for the opening of Chris Brownlie Hospice on the grounds of the Barlow Respiratory Hospital. In those early years, following an emotional plea for hospice care to the Los Angeles County Commission on AIDS and a protest and picketing of then-Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s home, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors eventually committed $2 million to AIDS care. The group began converting a facility in Elysian Park that had been Barlow’s old nursing quarters into Chris Brownlie Hospice—the County’s first AIDS hospice—which was named in Brownlie’s honor when it first opened December 26, 1988. Meyer, who also served as Treasurer of the AIDS Hospice Committee, was honored in 1987 by the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Committee with its ‘Heart of Gold Award’ for her early work in the effort to formulate AIDS hospice care in Los Angeles.
The 25-bed hospice—the first of three operated by AHF, including the Carl Bean House and Linn House, which opened in 1992 and 1995, respectively—provided 24-hour medical and palliative care to people living through the final stages of AIDS. Brownlie died at the age of 39, on November 26, 1989, less than a year after the hospice named in his honor first opened, survived by his father, sister, brothers, his longtime partner, Phil Wilson and countless friends and fellow AIDS activists. In addition to Brownlie, over 1,000 people had been given dignified, specialized, compassionate final care at the Chris Brownlie Hospice by the time it ended hospice operations in September 1996. The building that housed the Brownlie Hospice went through its own rebirths, housing various departments of AHF, including the headquarters for AHF’s Public Health Division, before the organization officially turned the property back over to the City of Los Angeles with a sunset memorial ceremony on Saturday, January 26, 2013.