Resources for Las Veganas con VIH continue to evolve with changing needs –

Resources for Las Veganas con VIH continue to evolve with changing needs



Mikayla Whitmore

Two panels of the AIDS quilt were hung inside the Center, part of World AIDS Day in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada on November 28, 2017.

10,823 people living with HIV in Nevada. As of 2016, there were 9,361 people in Clark County living with HIV, 469 of whom were newly diagnosed, according to the Nevada Division of Public Health and Behavior.

• Nevada AIDS Assistance (AFAN): 1120 Almond Tree Lane; 702-382-2326;

• Golden Rainbow: 714 E. Sahara Ave .; 702-384-2899;

• Huntridge Family Clinic: 1830 E. Sahara Ave .; 702-979-1111;

• The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada: 401 S. Maryland Parkway; 702-733-9800;

• Ryan White Program in Las Vegas, Clark County Social Services: 1600 Pinto Lane;

• Sexual Health Clinic of the Southern Nevada Health District: 280 S. Decatur Blvd .; 702-759-0702;

• St. Therese Center HIV Outreach: 241 Palo Verde Drive, Henderson; 702-564-4224;

The Affordable Care Act allowed people with HIV to obtain health insurance by prohibiting denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It also expanded Medicaid, making access to health care more accessible.

Like many people diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s, James Foley thought he was going to die.

"I never expected to be here today, but here I am," he said. "I do not think people understand where we came from, they do not really know where we were then and where we are now."

On the heels of the 29th World Day of Fight against AIDS, which was on December 1, Foley is invaded by a mixture of emotions: the survivor's guilt, sadness and amazement about how resources have changed against The hiv.

When Antioco Carrillo, executive director of AIDS for AIDS in Nevada, entered the HIV scene in the early 1990s, the mission was primarily to help newly diagnosed people to terms with their disease.

"Back then, we helped people plan their death and death," Carrillo said.

At that time, Carrillo also joined other health coordinators to go to bars and clubs, trying to teach people about prevention and encourage them to know their status. They even started to establish blood collection stations that allowed people to get their results in two weeks, which was the fastest response time to detect the virus at that time.

People were not only afraid to die, but also to death without dignity of losing their jobs and homes.

"They were in the closet with the door closed," Foley said.

Such fear was not unfounded.

Gary Costa, executive director of Golden Rainbow, said in 1987, a local animator was diagnosed with AIDS, lost his apartment as a result and was forced to move in with relatives who were terrified of the disease.

"So he died in his garage," Costa said.

Golden Rainbow was born the same year, with the entertainment community organizing fundraisers to raise money to help people with HIV cope with housing problems.

Then came a wave of new treatments against HIV.

"There are excellent medications that allow people to live healthy and normal lives," Carrillo said. "Now he lives with a chronic condition and takes medication like other people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol."

With stronger treatments, people began to live longer, so organizations began to change their focus.

AFAN provides case management to badyze issues such as the medical needs and stability of a client's employment and housing. Provides bus pbades, food stamps and rental badistance, among other services.

Carrillo said that AFAN sees around 1,400 repeat clients per year who continue to see case managers until they find a stable balance.

What the organization can not help with, refers to other organizations such as Golden Rainbow, which can help with housing, rent and utilities.

Also in the mix is ​​the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (the Center), which refers clients to organizations that can help them find local specialists in HIV care

While working in different spaces, the various organizations agree that collaboration has improved and that non-profit organizations depend more on each other.

Costa said in recent years, that there has been a boost for mobile facilities to accompany the tests conducted at AFAN, the Center, and the Southern Nevada Health District.

In addition to decreasing the number of new infections, organizations continue to feature or better ways to help people living with HIV, such as increasing access to mental health services.

Although organizations have changed, so has Foley's life.

She has worked in HIV education and outreach for nine years and is currently an HIV Outreach Specialist at the Center. No longer hiding his status, Foley often talks about living with the virus and even runs peer-facilitated support groups at the Center.

While he is frank about the importance of knowing his condition and the availability of resources, he is determined to make sure that people living with the virus do not fear his diagnosis.

"I wish I could have been as brave (then) as I am now," Foley said. "It would have saved me a little pain."

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