Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Las Vegas Joins Fight for Same-Sex Marriage

When California’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had equal rights to marry under the state constitution in May 2008, it became a tumultuous ride for the LGBT Community. By November, the decision was overruled when Proposition 8 passed by a 52.3 - 47.7 percent margin, devastating the community.

Yesterday, California’s Supreme Court ruled to uphold the same-sex marriage ban.

“It was a highly discouraging day for many,” says Brett, who married his husband in Los Angeles in July, 2008. “We consider ourselves very lucky that we had this opportunity last year. However, there are many people who are not as fortunate. We adopted two children over six years ago and this was the second most important day of our lives. To think that this right could be taken away from us is extremely disheartening.”


Las Vegas is among 160 cities across the nation rallying against California’s Supreme Court decision to uphold Proposition 8. The issue of Proposition 8 resonates with the LGBT community of Southern Nevada because Gov. Gibbons vetoed SB 283, which was a domestic partner bill that revised provisions governing the rights of domestic partners. To express support, the The Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada hosted a rally with over 400 advocates in attendance, both gay and straight, last night.

“The rally filled us with hope and pride,” said Sybrina Bernabei, HIV prevention educator at the Gay & Lesbian Center. “The speakers encouraged and energized us. We need to unite and stand up for our rights.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has taken action on a local and national level. They continue to lead us in the fight for equal rights and they continue to need the support of the community.

Make a difference. Get involved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

AFAN Kicks Off Promo At Long Beach Pride

Despite the devastating blow of Proposition 8 at the onset of 2009, California’s gay activists seem reinvigorated. This weekend, Long Beach Pride had over 80,000 attendees come out in support of gay rights.

AFAN was the proud guest of StudioOUT.com, a gay internet radio station and a major sponsor of Long Beach Pride. AFAN kicked off its Black & White Party promotions by distributing hot pink Frisbees. They received overwhelming support from Pride attendees. Tickets are $35, which includes all you can eat and drink. Tickets go on sale June 1.




“It was an honor to take part in the festivities and really see the community come together,” said AFAN Client Services Supervisor, Jared Hafen.

The weekend was filled with a variety of StudioOUT.com artists, including Ari Gold, Guy B as well as other performances by Smashmouth, Jazmine Sullivan, Alec Mapa, Kat Deluna, and Sara Bareilles. One of the highlights included Long Beach Pride’s version of American Idol.

Pride Star was an amazing hit, especially with one ‘celebrity’ judges being Duncan Payton, the CEO and Founder of StudioOUT.com. Payton’s constructive criticism included everything from fashion advice to how to hold a microphone. His judging critiques were almost as entertaining as the performances.


The winner of Pride Star was 19 year old, Niko, from Bakersfield, Calif. He performed Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” and George Michael’s “Feeling Good.” Niko won over the crowd with his youthful exuberance and unforgettable dimples.

Niko, supported by friends and family, won a $2,500 cash prize, a production deal with his original single by Media Temple Productions, and the airing of his new single featured on the StudioOUT.com Network.


Join AFAN and StudioOUT.com at LA Pride on June 13 and 14 and San Diego Pride on July 18 and 19. Visit the StudioOUT.com booth to win some amazing promotional items for the Black & White Party, held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s pool on August 22.

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Camp Courage Helps Children With HIV/AIDS

For its second consecutive year, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) will host Camp Courage, a summer camp for southern Nevada kids (ages 5-15) who are infected by HIV/AIDS.

Last summer, the trip included a ride across the state line to San Diego. In four short days, the children attended a play at the Starlight Theater, interacted with the amazing exhibits at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, saw Shamu at Sea World, and swam in the Pacific Ocean. This, of course, was only the beginning of what the campers saw, did, and experienced.


The camp is shorter this year, but still packed with all the fun!

The campers will arrive at AFAN’s office at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17. There, they will be greeted by counselors and given all the items they need for their camp. That night, they will participate in a talent show, play games, win prizes, and enjoy all the pizza, pop corn, and candy they can eat (within reason, of course).

The very next day, everyone will wake up, pack up, and begin the trip to Disneyland! The goal for Camp Courage is to have the campers arrive in time for the park opening at 10 a.m.!

Then, all day long, campers will be free to roam with their counselors and ride the rides, like Space Mountain, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and many others. They will also be able to enjoy lunch in the park, at the restaurant of their choice. At 5 p.m., they will begin the short ride home to Las Vegas. One full night and day of fun!

Would you like to know more? AFAN could still use some help. To volunteer or for more information, please e-mail AFAN.

We're still accepting donations from people with big hearts too! If you would like to sponsor a camper, please visit AFAN's dedicated Camp Courage sponsor page.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SMOOSH Comes To AFAN

Walk into AFAN’s Education Department on Thursday afternoon and you'll be delighted. Twenty or so people will be talking about art — everything and anything you can imagine from paints and paint brushes to canvases, fabric, and beads. It's a perfect mess, but it's also the kind of mess you want in your life.

This is SMOOSH.



SMOOSH is a creative workshop that provides a safe and artsy atmosphere for those who are HIV positive to come and create art. For those who aren’t so artsy, we are all welcome too.

“I continue to see the need for group projects. You would be surprised how therapeutic the experience can be for the artists,” said Alex Flores, artist in residence. “It provides them with an unparalleled sense of community. If they want to talk about living with HIV they are able to find the support they need, but if they simply want to come and escape they are in a place where they are able to do so.”

The group’s next project will be collages. Flores is encouraging people to create a collage reflecting their experience with HIV/AIDS. The artwork can portray the struggles and losses they have faced, which has been proven to help people deal with the challenges they face.

As funding allows, the group also takes part in “Art Experiences.” Art experiences include activities such as pottery workshops: Giselle by Nevada Ballet, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Bodies Exhibit.

These outings reinforce the comradry of the group as they are able to experience a work of art created by someone else. It has and continues to facilitate discussions, and often provides the inspiration for new works.

“The healing of hearts, souls, and minds happen here at AFAN on Thursday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. when I hear laughter and see smiles that rise from individuals that never felt they had a reason to smile, or compassion that blossoms from a friendship made while creating a piece of art, said Lane Olson, Prevention Education Supervisor. “SMOOSH is truly magical; people come alive when producing something they perceive as beauty.”

SMOOSH is always in need of additional supplies and local artists who are willing lead projects with the group. If you are interested in getting involved please email Lane Olson.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Side Effects Of Medication: An Introduction

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). By killing or damaging cells of the body's immune system, HIV progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers.

One solution is to treat people infected with HIV with antiretroviral medications to help them lead longer, healthier lives. The goal such treatment is to reduce the amount of the virus in a person’s body and prevent destruction of the immune system.

Most people taking antiretroviral medications have some side effects.

Some side effects are mild. Others can be severe. Some may last for a few days or weeks and then lessen or go away, but others might continue as long as you take a medication, or even after you stop.

Some occur within days or weeks of starting a drug. Others may only show up after months or years of therapy. Some side effects are very common and will happen to most people taking a drug. Other side effects are very rare.

Your age, body weight and size, gender, and overall health can play a role in how you experience side effects. Common side effects with all HIV medications are: diarrhea, feeling tired (fatigue), headache, liver problems, upset stomach (nausea), stomach pain, vomiting, and poor appetite.

Side effects are one of the main reasons why people stop taking HIV medications.

No matter how bad the medication makes people feel, the job of a dietitian and/or nurse is help those being treated to keep taking the full dose of the drug until the doctor tell them otherwise. Missing even a few doses or taking less than a full dose, could cause the drug to stop working all together.

We remind clients that it can take time for their bodies to get used to the medication. It deserves a chance to do so. However, when side effects continue for several months and affect quality of life for a long period of time, then it's best to consult a health care provider about changing the treatment.

There is something else clients can do. Many side effects can be managed nutritionally.

For example, if the medication makes them feel nauseous, they might eat small but frequent meals that include dry, salty foods such as pretzels and crackers. Or, sometimes, it helps to drink ginger ale. Here are some other resources that may help:

• AIDS Info, which is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
• AIDS Info Net, which provides reliable, up-to-date treatment information.

At Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), a registered dietitian is available to provide counseling to decrease some medication side effects through nutrition therapy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AIDS Walk Las Vegas Sets Record

More than 8,000 participants raised over $401,000 during this year's AIDS Walk Las Vegas. The event set a new record for individual donations that will help Aid for AIDS of Nevada provide direct service programs, food programs, prevention and education programs, and community outreach.

“We are thrilled that the community not only donated to the event, but also came out in over-whelming support of the cause,” said Jennifer Morss, executive director of AFAN. “It was breathtaking to stand on the stage and see the community support AFAN regardless of the current economic situation.”



During the last six months, AFAN has seen a continued rise in individual support of their agency. Although many corporate sponsors were unable to support the AIDS Walk this year, individual participants and 235 teams worked harder than ever.

The AIDS Walk’s top fundraiser, Judith Domingo-Vicerra, raised $16,415 in support of the cause. Her team raised $17,475, making it the second highest team fundraiser this year. Team Jubilee, Team Tech Results, and Team Winos also raised more than $7,000.

Individual donations was not the only record set at AIDS Walk Las Vegas. Penn & Teller, which hosted their popular Penn & Teller Challenge, set a personal team challenge record by raising $61,292.32.

Penn & Teller matched dollar for dollar of the amount raised, bringing their total to $122,584.64 WOW!

In addition to the astounding support of the AIDS Walk, AFAN used the opportunity to announce the date and venue of the 23rd Annual Black & White Party, August 22 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Baskow & Associates will also be a major sponsor of the event, promising new and exciting entertainment for a whole new feel. For more information about the Black & White Party, e-mail info(at)afanlv.org for more information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AFAN Hopes To Set Record At AIDS Walk


Join The AIDS Walk:
This Sunday, April 19, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) will host its 19th Annual AIDS Walk Las Vegas, in downtown Las Vegas at World Market Center. It is already shaping up to the most fun and entertaining event in the organization's history. Here are some highlights:

Grand Marshals:
Penn & Teller are hosting the Penn & Teller Challenge. They will lead the AIDS Walk and match every dollar that their team members raise. Last year, the Penn & Teller Challenge raised more than $100,000. You can learn more about them in this article.

Celebrity Co-Hosts:
In addition to Penn & Teller, Chris Saldaña from Channel 8 Eyewitness News and Duncan Payton from Smooth Jazz 105.7 THE OASIS, Mornings on AREA 107.9, and CEO of StudioOUT.com will lend their support.

Main Stage Entertainment:
We've lined up some of the best entertainers to keep everyone motivated. Performers include Singer/Songwriter Jake Walden, music provided by DJ Axis, and the Las Vegas J.A.C.L. Kaminari Tako (Japanese Drummers). You can catch a music video from Jake Walden here.

Block Party Treats:
There are dozens of vendors who are supporting AIDS Walk Las Vegas, including Vitamin Water, Tropical Smoothie, Trader Joe’s, Samurai Sam’s, and Jason’s Deli.

Other Fun Stuff:
The newest attraction this year was planned especially for our tiniest walkers. There will be a special play area with bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, snow cones, cotton candy, and popcorn.

Pets Are Welcome:
For walkers looking for a four-legged friend, The Animal Foundation will join the walk and bring 25 loveable dogs that need good homes.

Even More Entertainment:
As always, the walk route is a montage of local bands, artists, and street performers for the enjoyment of the 7,000+ walkers. Some of the entertainers include: I am the Thief, Kid Meets Cougar, Shadow Wood Avenue, Danger Boner, Smith & Wesson Blues Project, DJ Aurojin, and the Luxor Fantasy Girls.

With this much planned, the AIDS Walk is the only place to be on Sun., April 19. Come join us. The event starts at 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dondero Elementary Walks For AIDS

For the second consecutive year, Dondero Elementary School has been one of the top fundraising teams for AIDS Walk Las Vegas. Last year, the team raised more than $3,000. This year, they have already raised $2,361.17.

Their hard work and effort hasn’t gone unnoticed. Penn & Teller asked to match whatever Dondero Elementary School raises. The team is excited to learn the news, giving them inspiration to raise even more.


At the same time, Keith Frank, team captain and a fourth grade teacher at Dondero Elementary School, puts a human face on their efforts. For him, it isn't just about the money raised. It's about awareness and protecting his students.

Every year, he spends several months educating his class about HIV/AIDS. This includes age appropriate books and in-class discussions. He wants all of them to learn how to protect themselves from the disease while dismantling the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. AFAN staff members are also invited to meet the students in order to build awareness during an ice cream party. More than 150 students participate.

According to Frank, this year was especially impactful. When Jared Hafen, client services supervisor at AFAN, arrived, he asked that all of the students write down the four most important things in their lives — whether it be family members, pets, friends, etc.

“It is so encouraging to have elementary school kids ask questions about HIV,” said Hafen. “It gives me hope that with teachers like Mr. Frank we will be able to decrease the infection rate of HIV/AIDS in young adults.”

Then, after the students had finished writing down their lists, Hafen told the class his is HIV positive. And slowly, he walked around the room and took away every list that revealed who and what where most important to the students.

That's how HIV/AIDS changes your life, he said. It takes away everything you know about life, and your relationships with family members and friends will never be the same.

If you would Like to help Dondero Elementary in support of the AIDS Walk, please visit the AFAN website.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Look Who's Walking for AIDS: Jake Walden

Singer/songwriter Jake Walden is confirmed to perform at AIDS Walk Las Vegas on April 19 for Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN).



Jake released his first album, “Alive and Screaming,” last year and was featured in The Advocate’s 2008 music issue as “one to watch.” He is kicking off the second leg of his tour, “Rock the Folk OUT,” the week following the AIDS Walk. He will also be performing at the Beauty Bar in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 9.

Jake has performed at Hotel Café in Los Angeles, The Bitter End, Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, and many other venues. His first video, “For Someone,” debuted on Logo’s “NewNowNext” and VH1.com. Jake is currently working on his second album.

Jake is an avid supporter of HIV/AIDS prevention education and the pursuit of a cure. He joins AFAN to walk in support of lives lost and for those who continue to fight everyday. He will walk until there is a cure.

Jake will also perform on the MORE Show (Las Vegas, Channel 5) on Wednesday, April 15. To find out more about Jake Walden please visit Jake Walden Music or catch him on MySpace.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

State Department Cuts AIDS Programs


At a time when support services have never been more critical, The State of Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has terminated four Ryan White Part B Programs (RWPB), totaling over $750,000, effective April 5.

While The State has projected a $910 million budget deficit, RWPB programs are federally funded by a grant administered through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is expected to receive a surplus of funds due to the economic stimulus package.

Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), Community Outreach Medical Center, Community Counseling Center, and the UNLV Medical School Pediatric AIDS Clinic were given little notice of the funding cuts, with only a 30-day funding termination letter. Due to the short notice, the organizations affected by the cuts are struggling to secure alternate funding to support the programs.

In the interim, medical staffing (doctors, nurses, and mental health/substance abuse counselors) has been reduced, entire programs terminated, and clinics servicing HIV prenatal women and pediatric AIDS care are facing full closure. Without the funding for these programs, all of the agencies will be forced to turn patients away, some of whom rely on these programs to survive with HIV/AIDS.

“For unborn children especially, this is a life and death decision that will have consequences far greater than the state has obviously considered,” said Dr. Echezona Ezeanolue, director of the University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Nevada Care Program. “These children, who would otherwise have a 98 percent chance to be born without the HIV virus, will more likely be born with the virus.”

Most studies conclude that for each newly diagnosed patient, the cost of care is about $25,200 per year with the average life expectancy of 24 years. In the Las Vegas area, almost 3,600 residents are living with HIV and 3,000 more are diagnosed with AIDS.

According to letters received by each organization, The State of Nevada Department of Health and Human Services no longer considers these RWPB programs as core services. According to all four organizations, the state is incorrect.

“The programs they have cut are services which the federal entity HRSA has classified as core services,” said Sherry Suggs, operations manager, Community Outreach Medical Clinic. “This means the federal oversight agency also identifies these programs as essential, medically necessary services”.

Collectively, more than 700 HIV-infected and AIDS patients will be directly and immediately impacted. Those patients who will be especially hard hit include unborn children, minorities, and out-of-care clients.

Prior to the funding and development of these programs, The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation ranked Nevada as second only to California in new AIDS cases. The study revealed that Nevada was experiencing an 82 percent increase among newly HIV-infected residents between the ages of 13 and 24 from 1999 to 2003, with Clark County accounting for 78 to 84 percent of all new HIV cases.

Despite this disheartening news, the organizations affected by these cuts are collaborating to develop a continuation of care plan. Additional funding sources are being sought as the organizations continue to ask The State questions about their plan to deal with the gap in services.

“It is our hope to continue the vital and necessary care our clients need,” said Jennifer Morss, executive director at Aid for AIDS of Nevada. “We have a responsibility to the clients and the community, and we will be persistent in seeking other means to support these programs.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Everyone Walks, Especially Penn & Teller

For the seventh consecutive year, Penn & Teller are the Grand Marshals for AIDS Walk Las Vegas. Right on. This dynamic duo never shy away from a crisis.

Instead, they raise the stakes by challenging the community to get involved and give back. For the seventh consecutive year, Penn & Teller are the Grand Marshals for AIDS Walk Las Vegas. They've also set a fundraising goal of $50,000 — higher than any other year. And, they've promised to match whatever their team raises. So "put your money where your mouth is."


video



In addition to matching funds, they will also reward your efforts with prizes.

Raise $500.00+ And Get It All
Four complimentary Penn & Teller show tickets for a special VIP Night at the Penn & Teller show. Includes:

• Backstage meet 'n greet
• Private magic lesson and photos
• Autographed Souvenir Packet
• Official Penn & Teller Challenge Walk T-shirt
• Access into the Penn & Teller VIP Tent on Event Day
• Accompany Penn & Teller on their walk at the 2009 AIDS Walk Las Vegas
• Backstage meet 'n greet reception will be held on one night for all qualifying walkers at the Penn & Teller show at The Rio

Raise $250 And Remember It
Four complimentary tickets to see Penn & Teller live at The Rio. Includes:

• Autographed Souvenir Packet
• Official Penn & Teller Challenge Walk T-shirt
• Access into the Penn & Teller VIP Tent on Event Day
• Accompany Penn & Teller on their walk at the 2009 AIDS Walk Las Vegas

Raise $100 And Meet The Men
Two complimentary tickets to see Penn & Teller live at The Rio. Includes:

• Autographed Souvenir Packet
• Official Penn & Teller Challenge Walk T-shirt
• Access into the Penn & Teller VIP Tent on Event Day
• Accompany Penn & Teller on their walk at the 2009 AIDS Walk Las Vegas

Raise $50 And Have Fun
Two complimentary tickets to see Penn & Teller live at The Rio. Includes:

• Official Penn & Teller Challenge Walk T-shirt
• Access into the Penn & Teller VIP Tent on Event Day
• Accompany Penn & Teller on their walk at the 2009 AIDS Walk Las Vegas

You can join the Penn & Teller Challenge and by visiting afanlv.org and registering for the AIDS Walk. After all, EVERYONE WALKS, but not everyone has a chance to walk with Penn & Teller!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AFAN Shoulders Increased Client Health Insurance Costs

With Nevada’s unemployment rate reaching 9.1 percent, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) has faced a 60 percent increase in Health Insurance Program (HIP) expenses between Nov. 2008 and Jan. 2009.

In November, the agency paid approximately $19,000 to support clients on this program. In January, these expenses reached $31,000.

“While this is a tremendous financial challenge, we recognize the growing need in the community,” said Jennifer Morss, executive director for AFAN. "We only hope to do everything we can to meet the needs of our clients."

As community needs increase, Morss still encourages clients to talk to their case managers about eligibility for programs such as HIP. Specifically, HIP will pay COBRA premiums and co-pays for clients’ Antiretrovirals (ARVs) and any medications needed to help cope with the side effects of the ARVs.

Clients who are eligible for Ryan White Part A (RWPA) are also eligible for the HIP program. AFAN expects to see continued cost increases for this program and other services until the state begins to realize an economic recovery. The nonprofit has also experienced significant increases in housing, transportation, and food voucher programs.

As long as AFAN can count on generous support from the community, Morss is confident the nonprofit can meet demands. We're all in this together, she said.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

AIDS Walk Added To BloggersUnite.org

BloggersUnite.org, a new social network dedicated to providing nonprofit organizations exposure to bloggers and social networkers who want to do good, selected AIDS Walk Las Vegas — Everyone Walks! as one of ten local nonprofit events to be featured along with 27 other international events.

Being listed on the network exposes the walk to hundreds and thousands of bloggers and social networkers, encouraging them to help raise awareness and raise funds for the event. You can help too.

By joining BloggersUnite.org and then subscribing to the event, participants will be able to add graphic badges to their Web sites, blogs, and some social network profile pages that link back to the event page. The event page at Bloggers Unite provides supporters with various resources and a direct link to the AIDS Walk donation page. Here is an example:



In the days ahead, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) will be adding resources for bloggers and social network members, including suggested topic backgrounders and fact sheets. If you live in Las Vegas and have a Web site, blog, or social network profile, we would be grateful if you could help us get the word out.

Last year, the AIDS Walk included more than 250 corporate and community teams and 7,000 walkers who raised more than $550,000. This year, while we are confident the event will be a success, we have only raised $38,785 with the event only six weeks away. We need to do better.

AIDS Walk is vital for AFAN to continue serving more than 3,000 people afflicted with HIV or AIDS in Southern Nevada. These critical funds also help AFAN promote prevention campaigns, which is especially important as young adults, ages 18-24, currently represent more than half of all new AIDS cases.

Bloggers Unite is no stranger to AFAN's cause. Prior to becoming a standalone social network, it was a BlogCatalog.com initiative that encouraged bloggers to do good by raising awareness for underserved social awareness campaigns.

Last December, BlogCatalog teamed up with AIDS.gov and NIDA.gov to promote World AIDS Day. The campaign was an important component in generating more than 15,000 news stories and 250,000 blog posts that reached more than 62.5 million readers. According to AIDS.gov, its Web site traffic more than doubled and many new visitors have continued to participate on its site.

As an event that touches more than 5,000 people locally and more than 1.1 million people in the United States, we know every story, post, social network mention, participant, and contributor makes a tremendous difference. Your support is appreciated.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crowley To Head Office of National AIDS Policy


According to USA Today, President Barack Obama has selected Jeffrey S. Crowley, a senior researcher from Georgetown University, to direct his Office of National AIDS Policy. Specifically, the office will be tasked with coordinating government efforts to reduce HIV infection in the U.S. and leading treatment of Americans with HIV/AIDS.

According to President Obama's 2010 budget, he has pledged increased resources to domestic HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. No dollar amount has been specified to date.

Crowley has experience with the National Association of People with AIDS. His areas of expertise also include Medicaid policy. He is a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, and served as a science teacher in Swaziland.

"It’s exactly the kind of integration that folks in the HIV community have been talking about for a while," said Earnest Hopkins, federal policy official for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He also said the choice of Crowley for the position is "really good news."

Like all of us, Crowley will have much work to do. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported it had been underestimating new HIV cases in the U.S. New blood tests and statistical methods show 56,300 new HIV infections in 2006, which is a 40 percent increase over the annual estimate used for the past dozen years.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Common Ingredient May Diminish Risk

While it does not provide 100 percent protection, researchers have found that a cheap ingredient used in ice cream and cosmetics helped protect monkeys against infection with a virus similar to AIDS. It is their hope that it can be developed to greatly reduce the risk of a women being infected while attempting to become pregnant.

This is especially important given that many AIDS experts say women become afflicted while attempting to lead normal lives. This includes having children, even if their husbands are HIV positive.

According to researchers, even if the ingredient was only 60 percent effective, it could prevent as many as 2.5 million new HIV cases over three years. According to Reuters, they said they plan to study the gel for longer periods of time to ensure it is preventing infection rather than delaying it.

It is estimated that globally more than 32 million people are living with HIV, with more than 2 million new cases being diagnosed each year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everyone Will Walk On April 19

Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) has led the AIDS Walk for over 18 years. It represents one of the largest fundraising and awareness opportunities in Nevada. We encourage you to find out more about the AIDS Walk Las Vegas and register.

Last year, more than 7,000 people walked, including 250 corporate and community teams such as MGM Mirage, Macy’s, Focus Property Group, M.A.C Cosmetics, UNLV, Wells Fargo, and Penn & Teller. Together, they raised more than $550,000.

With your support, we can do better. We will walk until that point in time when AFAN is no longer effective, our services are no longer needed, and our purpose is no longer essential to the solution. When you visit the registration page, please take a moment to look at what our top sponsors have done so far.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

THINK Asks We Think of African Americans


With Black History Month observed in Canada and the United States every February, THINK asks that you remember another African-American. His name is Phil Wilson, CEO of The Black AIDS Institute.

Wilson is 52 years old, and he has been diagnosed with HIV. He is also responsible for overseeing one of the most compelling AIDS studies in America, the Black AIDS in Black America report, which lays out the promise and the peril of the unique moment at which we arrived in this epidemic. You can download the 2009 edition here. Some key findings:

• Of more than 56,300 people who were newly infected in 2006, 45 percent were black.
• Of more than 1.1 million people who are HIV positive in the U.S., 46.1 percent are black.
• Black Americans were infected at a rate of seven times that of whites in 2006.
• Black women were infected at a rate of almost 15 times more than white women.

We can do better. In Clark County, Nev., we are trying to do better.

• Currently, there are 3,510 people living with HIV in Clark County; 879 (25%) are African-American.
• The number of AIDS cases reported in Clark County is 5,124, of that number 2,471 are now deceased.
• Of the remaining 2,653 AIDS cases, 1,265 are African-American.

Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), specifically, is serving the African-American community through a number of support and education programs. One of the most popular programs is Project Upfront, which serves as an interactive HIV-positive speakers bureau. Among the many speakers in the group, these dedicated volunteers include African-Americans who focus on community outreach amongst teenagers and young adults. Both these groups are considered a high-risk population.

Another community partner, the Goshen Community Development Coalition, funds AFAN’s outreach efforts including the Healthy Relationship initiative targeting HIV-positive African-Americans and Positive Action, which is a drug prevention program.

AFAN programs assist and educate more than 3,000 men, women and children infected with HIV and AIDS in Southern Nevada.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fraternity Promotes Awareness

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., which is the oldest African-American Greek-lettered organization of collegiate men, is setting an excellent example in February by participating in National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). NBHAAD is a national mobilization effort designed to encourage African-Americans to get educated, get tested, get treated, and get involved with the fight against HIV/AIDS, as it continues to devastate black communities.

“Our work is to make sure that we die on time, not before time,” said Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr., the newly installed general (national) president of Alpha.

In addition to encouraging every fraternity member to get tested, they encourage every member of the community to be tested. Mason said it was important given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that blacks represent 49 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases reported each year. African-Americans infected with HIV/AIDS also face other disadvantages; shorter survival times and more HIV/AIDS related deaths than other ethnic groups.

“Historically, Alpha Phi Alpha has always played a major role in health issues concerning the African-American community,” said Mason. “Now we’re asking every member of Alpha Phi Alpha to get tested for HIV/AIDS. If every Alpha man gets tested, we’ll be able to definitively say that hundreds of thousands of African-American men now know their HIV status.’”

What stands out about the action planned by Alpha Phi Alpha is that groups, fraternities and sororities, can encourage members to be tested every year. In addition to raising awareness, group efforts can provide support for individual members who may otherwise never seek testing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meet A THINK Las Vegas Partner


Not much can be done without the right partners. And for Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), one of our many partners is Golden Rainbow, which is a responsive nonprofit organization that exists to meet the fundamental needs of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Here are a few of the services Golden Rainbow provides to our community:

Direct Financial Assistance Program
The direct financial assistance program helps with emergency short-term needs and limited assistance for eligible clients to maintain an adequate living environment and medical care.

Affordable Housing Program
The affordable housing program provides permanent housing for people living with HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada. It consists of eight apartments and a three-bedroom home, providing housing and all utilities for a small monthly rent payment.

Education - Southern Nevada Area Health Education Center
According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of all reported HIV infections last year were people under the age of 25. More than half of them were girls ages 13-19.

SLICK (Sexuality Lessons Including Cool Knowledge)
SLICK takes on a skill-building approach to reach adolescents ages 10-14 and 15-17. The program is designed to educate as well as discuss sexuality issues to cover abstinence, teen pregnancy, STIs, HIV/AIDS and teach risk education.

"Back to School" Program
This program, in collaboration with Father Joseph O'Brien at the Saint Therese Center in Henderson, provides low-income children who are infected/affected with HIV/AIDS, with backpacks filled with school supplies and gift certificates for clothes.

Golden Rainbow is also a campaign partner with "THINK," a developing education program that will educate people online, over local radio, and in local print publications. The idea is that the more people THINK about HIV and the lives behind the statistics, the less likely they will place themselves and their loved ones at risk.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AVERT Develops An Online Educational Tool

AVERT, which is an international HIV and AIDS charity based in the United Kingdom, recently launched an interactive educational tool that focuses on the history and science of AIDS and HIV. The informative presentation covers numerous topics, including its possible origins.

Some of the most compelling information reminds us that HIV is a highly variable virus that mutates very readily. This means that there are many different strains of HIV, even within the body of a single infected person. In most cases, researchers classify them as HIV-1 and HIV-2, with each having various subgroups.

The implication of variability is one of many reasons people respond differently to various treatments. Likewise, the development of an AIDS vaccine is also affected by the range of virus subtypes as well as by the wide variety of human populations who need protection and who differ, for example, in their genetic makeup and their routes of exposure to HIV.

One of the many topics covered by the site includes why it is so difficult to cure AIDS. Specifically, curing AIDS is generally taken to mean clearing the body of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Unfortunately, this virus replicates (makes new copies of itself) by inserting its genetic code into human cells, particularly a type known as CD4 cells. For more information, visit "A Cure For Aids at AVERT.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An Introduction To THINK Las Vegas

In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study that indicated half of all new HIV infections in the United States are among those under 24 years of age. This study prompted Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) to partner with Golden Rainbow to begin development of an online campaign that reached young adults and increased their awareness with news, information, and educational resources.

While still in development, the THINK Campaign aims to reach young adults in order to prevent infection, increase awareness, and encourage action. The THINK Las Vegas blog is one element of that campaign.

Over time, this blog will provide weekly updates, insights, and opinions written by directors, supervisors, and support staff who have a passion to enhance the physical health and psychosocial wellness of the affected individuals as well as to help prevent infection. You will also find information about various programs and events hosted by AFAN, providing you with real life insights into the lives of more than one million Americans living with HIV/AIDS today.

AFAN currently provides support and advocacy for adults and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in southern Nevada. We work to reduce HIV infection through prevention education to eliminate fear, prejudice, and the stigma associated with the disease.