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.