Today is World AIDS Day
For the Nevada Appea
This column addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Red Ribbon Affair
Carson City’s World AIDS Day awareness event is at 6 p.m. tonight at Silver Oak Golf Course. The evening will begin with a wine and hors d’oeuvres social hour, followed by performance arts and compelling presentations. Tickets are available at the door for $25.
The fear and prejudice that lie at the core of HIV/AIDS discrimination need to be tackled at all levels, starting in our own community. Support us in building a better community.
The Red Ribbon Affair will address fear-based, biased attitudes in order to reduce discrimination and stigma of people living with AIDS in our community. The cost of the event is $25. All proceeds benefit Northern Nevada HOPES, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of individuals and families infected or affected with HIV/AIDS.
WHAT: Red Ribbon Affair, Performance Art for AIDS Awareness
WHEN: 6-7:30 p.m. today
WHERE: Silver Oak Golf Course, 1251 Country Club Dr., Carson City
Cost: $25 at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org
Q: What is the purpose of World AIDS* Day?
A: World AIDS Day, an awareness event, began in 1988. This year, the theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights.” World AIDS Day reminds us that AIDS has not gone away, and there is much work to be done. HIV/AIDS is a threat to men, women and children all around the world.
World AIDS Day brings awareness to the human rights of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)-positive people. Basic human rights are often denied persons with HIV, much of it occurring in the form of HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
The International Centre for Research on Women reports the following consequences of HIV-related stigma:
• Loss of income/livelihood
• Loss of marriage and childbearing options
• Poor care within the health sector
• Loss of hope and feelings of worthlessness
• Loss of reputation
Whatever its form or its consequences, AIDS stigma inflicts suffering on people and interferes with attempts to fight the AIDS epidemic. An Institute of Medicine panel reported “the fear of discrimination is a major constraint to the wide acceptance of many potentially effective public health measures” in the United States.
HIV testing is available at Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) five-days a week, without an appointment. The rapid finger-stick test is offered at low or no cost and it provides results within 15 minutes.
The testing process involves the highest level of confidentiality, counseling, education and support. All persons who are sexually active or use drugs should be routinely tested, even if they do not believe themselves to be at risk.
The test takes place in a private office and involves a finger prick. As you wait, the blood drawn absorbs into a strip which eventually shows the results: positive or negative. All of this takes place in the presence of you and the healthcare worker. During the brief waiting period, some paperwork and statistical data taking occurs. If the results are positive, one-on-one counseling happens on the spot. CCHHS also has a confidential weekly HIV support group.
“People needn’t fear the stigma of having an HIV test,” said Elaine Bergenheier, CCHHS HIV Services Coordinator. “There really are no barriers or valid excuses. The staff here is wonderful, very discreet and very experienced. No one is going to judge you or be shocked.”
Free Safe Sex Kits
Anyone who comes to the clinic at CCHHS may have a Safe Sex Kit. The kits contain condoms, disease and pregnancy prevention information. There is no cost, no obligation, and no paperwork.
“These condoms are in trendy packaging, meant to be conversation pieces,” Bergenheier said. “They’re designed to encourage use.”
Last month, CCHHS gave out nearly 90 Safe Sex Kits. Kits are available for the asking in the clinic at the check-in counter.
* AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes AIDS.
Carson City Health and Human Services
900 East Long St.
Clinic Hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday
WHEN: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., by appointment
Thursday is Immunization Day
WHEN: 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.; 1:00-4:30 p.m. No appointment needed
COST: CCHHS offers flu injections for $20 and nasal mist for $25. No appointment is necessary.
On the Web:
In neighboring California, confirmed cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, is now four times that of last year. Local health officials encourage Tdap boosters for any adult up to 64 years of age that is in close contact with an infant. Whooping cough boosters for adults and vaccine for infants is available at Carson City Health and Human Services.
• Pam Graber is the public information officer for Carson City Health & Human Services. She can be reached at 775-283-7906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.