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.