Las Vegas forum is a part of AHF’s national ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ public awareness campaign. speaker Reverend Al Sharpton will be followed by a town hall discussion exploring the fact that African Americans & Latinos are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.
LAS VEGAS (October 28, 2014) In response to the fact that African American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has embarked on a new national “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue” public awareness campaign intended to highlight this health disparity as well as to emphasize the fact that access to HIV prevention, care and treatment for HIV/AIDS should be universal.
As part of its campaign, AHF will host an ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ town hall discussion at the Cashman Center from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Friday evening, November 7th. The Las Vegas forum—part of a yearlong campaign that coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—is the fifth in the nationwide series of such town halls spearheaded by AHF. Reverend Al Sharpton will be keynote speaker followed by a program featuring a town panel discussion with several respected local community, political, health, religious and HIV/AIDS leaders.
WHAT: ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ TOWN HALL PANEL DISCUSSION
With Keynote Speaker, Rev. Al Sharpton
WHEN: Friday, November 7th, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
WHERE: Cashman Center 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas, NV 89101
WHO: KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Reverend Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Leader
Hon. Patricia Spearman, Senator, Nevada State Senate
Hon. Isaac Barron, City Councilmember, City of North Las Vegas
Ruby Duncan, Community Activist
Dr. Melva Thompson-Robinson, Director, Center for Health Disparities, University of Nevada at Las Vegas
Dr. Welton T. Smith III, Greater Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church
Demarkest Brooks, HIV+ activist
Torrence Warfield, HIV+ activist
Special music performance by the Las Vegas Mass Choir
PANEL DISCUSSION MODERATOR: Samantha Granberry, Senior Director, Sales and Marketing, AHF
Currently African Americans account for 44% of all people with HIV/AIDS in the United States, yet only account for 12% of the population. Latinos account for 21% of all new HIV infections nationwide, yet only represent 16% of the U.S. population.
Disproportionately high numbers of HIV/AIDS cases among communities of color may be caused by several factors, including:
- Lack of access to clinics for care and HIV testing.
- High levels of stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in these communities prevent people from learning their HIV status, or from seeking care and speaking honestly with their partners if they know they are positive.
- Both society and the healthcare industry have marginalized members of these communities both on account of sexual orientation and race, blocking essential treatment, care, and education for those who need it.
“Our ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ public awareness campaign is opening dialogue with stakeholders in the community, the public health arena, and faith-based groups as well as public officials about health disparities and the importance of universal access to HIV prevention and care and treatment,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We are honored to have Reverend Sharpton and our esteemed partners in Nevada lend their voices to this important cause and discussion.”
At a previous forum of the AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue campaign held in Los Angeles in February, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke about the importance of overcoming HIV stigma to attain equal access to HIV/AIDS treatment for those in need. From the pulpit at Holman United Methodist Church in the West Adams District of Los Angeles, Sharpton told the rapt, overflow congregation: “Jesus heals the sick. He did not judge the sick,” adding with regard to those leading the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-20th Century: “I’m glad they didn’t judge me before they fought for me.”
AHF’s AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue forums have been held in Jackson, MS (2/7/14); Dallas, TX (2/22/14); Los Angeles, CA (2/23/14); Baton Rouge, LA (2/28/14); Ft. Lauderdale, FL (4/23/14); and Brooklyn, NY (9/18/14). Following Las Vegas, on November 7, the next AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue town hall is planned for Oakland, CA (date TBD).
HIV/AIDS in Nevada
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, there were 8,390 people living with HIV/AIDS in Nevada by the end of 2010, of which 7,105 were in Clark County. Men accounted for 83% of the total number of cases throughout the state, and 51.6% of the reported cases were in white people. The Southern Nevada Health District reported 26 new HIV infections in the southern region of the state in October 2013 alone. As of October 2013, there have been 340 HIV/AIDS diagnoses in southern Nevada, 226 of which were HIV infections and 2 of which were in children under the age of 13.
AHF Healthcare Centers in Nevada
To address some of the health disparities highlighted in the ‘AIDS is a Civil Right Issue” campaign and town hall forum, AIDS Healthcare Foundation recently opened two AHF Healthcare Centers in the Las Vegas area of Nevada: One, in Las Vegas—AHF Healthcare Center/Las Vegas, 3201 S. Maryland Pkwy., Suite 218, Las Vegas, NV 89109, +1 (702) 862-8075; the other, in North Las Vegas—the AHF Healthcare Center/North Las Vegas, 1815 Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 113, North Las Vegas, NV 89030, +1 (702) 639-8110.
AHF Healthcare Centers aim to decrease the number of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses by providing free HIV testing so people can be aware of their status; immediate linkage into care – regardless of ability to pay – for those who test positive; and support through ongoing follow-ups to ensure adherence to a health regimen that will ultimately extend life expectancies and reduce the risk of transmission.
AHF operates more than 41 Healthcare Centers throughout the United States – in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington, D.C. – and many more in the countries where AHF works throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. More information about Healthcare Center services and locations can be found at www.hivcare.org.
Please join us and a multitude of faith-based communities in illuminating and fighting the persisting bias against communities of color as we collectively strive to lower the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and together we can ensure all communities have equal access to the tools we need in this fight.