The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and a number of marquees and landmarks will turn their lights red December 1, commemorating the 17th annual World AIDS Day, which aims to unite the global community in the fight against HIV/AIDS, support those living with the conditions and honor those who have lost their lives.
The event is happening on the heels of actor Charlie Sheen’s recent announcement that he is HIV-positive, which put conversations surrounding HIV/AIDS more in the national spotlight. It’s an important dialogue to have, so we reached out to Aid for AIDS of Nevada to get the latest stats and terminology.
People who have tested positive for HIV/AIDS in Clark County in 2014, according to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
HIV vs. AIDS
“HIV is human immunodeficiency virus. It’s the actual virus that infects individuals who are living with HIV,” says AFAN Education Supervisor Andrew Evanski. “AIDS is a diagnosis that someone [living with HIV] can receive upon reaching less than 200 T-cells per milliliter of blood.”
New HIV diagnoses in Clark County in 2014, according to DBPH.
‘Living with’ HIV/AIDS
“[HIV/AIDS] has changed from a terminal illness to a chronic illness,” Evanski says. “We say ‘living with HIV’ because it’s just a chronic disease. It’s something that they’ll live with for the rest of their life because there’s no cure, but it is a manageable disease by taking retroviral [medication].”
The percentage of new HIV diagnoses in Clark County in 2014 that were a result of male-to-male sexual contact, according to the DPBH. “No identified risk” (17 percent) and heterosexual contact (8 percent) were the transmission categories with the next highest percentages.