Fashion show focused on HIV prevention for Las Vegas youth

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada is hosting a free event Friday aimed at fighting HIV with fashion — and 17,000 expired condoms. Condom Couture, which is helmed by the center’s HIV outreach coordinator, Channing Carney-Filmore, is a means to spotlight National Youth HIV Awareness Day.

Designers from across the valley have created looks using 17,000 condoms donated from ONE Condom to help create a dialog around protection and safe sex. A panel of judges, including X107.5’s Sylvia Alvarado and Q100.5 host Natalia Hernandez, will choose the winner based on originality, style and difficulty of design.

Condom Couture is focused on raising HIV awareness among youth, as one in five new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. affect young people ages 13 to 24, Carney-Filmore said. And in Nevada, she said there is an upward trend of HIV infections in those ages 25 to 34.

The event is another way the center is continuing that education in a fun, interactive way. Intermission will include additional educational presentations, like how to properly put on a condom. It begins at 6 p.m. at the center, located at 401 S. Maryland Parkway.

“It’s important to know how it’s transmitted,” Carney-Filmore says. “There’s a huge stigma around HIV, and if we start having an open dialogue — there’s a lot of misinformation out there. It’s important to have this discussion because we can help improve the quality of life for other people.”

Carney-Filmore spends three days a week doing risk-reduction counseling, testing, working with clients, providing outreach and leading support groups for those living with HIV and AIDS. In 2015, 8,894 people were reported to be living with HIV in Las Vegas, according to aidsvu.org.

Typically, she begins with the basics: How you contract HIV, how to protect yourself, the history of HIV and AIDS and more.

“[AIDS] used to be a death sentence and now people are living long, healthy lives because of medication and resources,” Carney-Filmore says. “If we have newly HIV-positive individuals, we let them know you will live a long healthy life as long as you’re taking medication.”

The center also has a Spanish-speaking support group and is a wealth of knowledge on other resources, like the Ryan White HIV-AIDS program, which is aimed toward low-income clients and people without insurance. The program provides comprehensive care and support services for people with HIV and can also provide assistance with medication, housing, food and other necessities.

April is also STD Awareness month. There were more than 12,500 reports of chlamydia in Clark County in 2017, as well as 4,592 cases of gonorrhea and 966 cases of early syphilis, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

The Southern Nevada Health District and AIDS Healthcare Foundation have partnered to bring mobile testing units to the Street Teens at 5599 S. Pecos Road from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. From 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 25, testing units will be at the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth at 4981 Shirley Street.

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