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AFAN Mission Of AIDS Awareness Evolves With Knowledge Of Disease

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Jere Keys/Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Shelley Berkley is recognized at the 20th annual AFAN Black & White Party in 2006.

Aid for AIDS of Nevada holds its 35th Black & White Party this weekend to benefit those coping with HIV and AIDS.

The event Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel returns after a one-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which to some echoed the early days of AIDS.

“The sense of dread that there is no cure, that there is no treatment, we don't know how it’s transmitted, and all of that really create a sense of panic for the community,” said Antioco Carrillo, executive director, Aid for AIDS of Nevada.

AFAN has been providing support for those touched by AIDS and HIV since 1983, and its mission has evolved along with the understanding of the disease.

“We have transformed our services based on the needs of the community, and based on how the epidemic has changed as well,” Carrillo told State of Nevada. “We didn't have mental health services, we enacted mental health services; we didn't have registered dietician, we enacted a position for a registered dietician, all to tailor the services in the needs of the community.

“In the past, obviously, we know that there was a death sentence, and people were afraid of dying and talking about it. Now it's more about really, 'What is my life going to look like, as as I transition into living with HIV?'”

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The organization also works to improve AIDS awareness in the broader community. During the Legislature, it supported the passage of Senate Bill 275, which repealed a law making it a felony to knowingly infect others with HIV.

Carrillo said the measure will help to “get rid of the stigma” many with HIV often feel.

“When you have some sort of an element that prevents people from disclosing their information, because of fear,” he said, “I think that part of what happens is that it prevents people from accessing services.”

Guests

Antioco Carrillo, executive director, Aid for AIDS of Nevada 

 

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