Community groups taking lead role under new HIV testing law

Less than a year after state legislation loosened HIV testing restrictions, Southern Nevada community organizations are assuming new roles, working with health officials to offer preliminary testing.

Approved by Gov. Brian Sandoval last May and enacted in October, Assembly Bill 243 removed language in the law allowing only licensed health care professionals to provide certain HIV tests, among other adjustments.

Now, volunteers with groups such as Aid for AIDS of Nevada, known as AFAN, are providing preliminary rapid HIV testing in Southern Nevada after undergoing training in testing, infection control and counseling.

The rapid tests generally involve a finger prick and provide results in under 30 minutes that must be confirmed by a secondary test, according to the new law.

Marlo Tonge, communicable disease manager at the Southern Nevada Health District, helped write the law and said it allows organizations including AFAN and the Las Vegas Urban League to reach underserved groups including minorities and people who might be hesitant to make contact with the health district.

“Not every community person out there loves government,” she said. “Not everybody likes public health.”

Four or five organizations have already started doing the testing, she said.

Alisa Howard, director of minority health services at the Las Vegas Urban League, said the organization received funding for her position through AB243.

“It opened up a lot of, not only collaborations between organizations, but opened up a lot of funding for HIV,” she said.

Howard said she’s working to ensure the Urban League can begin offering free rapid HIV testing at the end of August.

As with other community organizations involved, the Urban League will do outreach and offer rapid testing, but individuals who test positive will be forwarded to the health district for more in-depth secondary testing that involves drawing blood, Howard said.

If that test also comes back positive, the individual can be referred to medical, psychological and other services to ensure access to medication, a physician and other necessary services.

According to the health district, roughly 400 new cases of HIV are reported in Clark County every year.

Tonge said the health district, in conjunction with its community partners, offered nearly 19,000 publicly funded HIV tests last year, about 3,000 to 4,000 more than in the previous year.

Her goal is to do about 20,000 tests a year.

Antioco Carrillo, executive director of AFAN, said his organization hopes to incorporate newly diagnosed individuals into its network of services, ensuring that people with HIV or AIDS can be connected with housing, counseling and other services if needed.

AFAN began offering free testing in mid-March after required training with the health district.

“Our work is essentially to do a lot of the work that is not done by the doctors,” he said.

Contact Pashtana Usufzy at pusufzy@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @pashtana_u on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like