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) 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 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 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.