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Las Vegas: AIDS Clinic to Focus on Educating Blacks About Disease

July 11, 2003

Counselors and educators at a new Las Vegas HIV/AIDS clinic will focus their efforts on the area’s black population. The clinic will provide free HIV testing, counseling, referral services, and food to patients. The state and federally funded clinic is expected to open in December at the Enterprise Health Care and Dental Center, 1700 Wheeler Peak St. in West Las Vegas.

Although the free clinic will be open to all races, the outreach program and education component will focus on blacks. Blacks make up 9 percent of the Las Vegas Valley's population but account for 23 percent of HIV/AIDS patients, according to Clark County Health District statistics. Whites comprise 72 percent of the population and 61 percent of HIV/AIDS patients, while Hispanics comprise 22 percent of the population and 14 percent of HIV/AIDS patients. About 4,600 county residents are living with the virus.

"Right now the HIV education focus is really on the gay bars," said Lydia Harris, executive director of Fighting AIDS in the Community Today, the organization that will run the new clinic. "We’re looking to focus more on community spots and areas where African Americans tend to congregate, like barbershops, hairdressers, and their clubs."

Harris said clinic employees canvassing the community will be equipped with oral HIV test kits that make it easier to test people and eliminate the need to draw blood.

Reva Anderson, executive director of Sista to Sista, which provides HIV education and support to minority women, said that gay black men are more likely to hide their sexual orientation than gay white men because homosexuality is not as accepted in the black community. "It’s so taboo that African-American men won’t even view themselves as gay even though they have sex occasionally with men," said Anderson.

Back to other CDC news for July 11, 2003

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Adapted from:
Las Vegas Review-Journal
07.08.2003; Joelle Babula

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
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