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|GA Spotlight: Metro Atlanta Association of Nurses in AIDS Care|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|December 24, 2010 00:00|
Thirty local nurses have chosen to specialize in HIV as part of the Metro Atlanta Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, a chapter of a national nonprofit.
“We have been providing direct patient care since the first days of this epidemic in this city,” says Atlanta’s ANAC President Dennis Flores.
“We stand for a more vigorous approach to HIV prevention as the sustained rates we have been seeing through three decades of prevention denote that much can still be done.”
The Metro Atlanta chapter provides a “network for nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and other members of the healthcare team to facilitate their practice and lead to better health outcomes,” he says.
“This includes having regular dinner meetings almost every month so that we keep up with our colleagues who work in varied settings, from hospitals like Emory and Grady, infectious disease clinics such as the one on Ponce de Leon Avenue [Grady Health System - Infectious Disease Program] to community health centers and private practice clinics,” Flores says.
The Atlanta ANAC group made itself known at Atlanta Pride this year with its “Stay Negative” campaign. Some 80 nurses, nursing students and supporters marched in the annual parade to “underscore the need to combat the phenomenon of ‘HIV optimism,’” Flores says.
Also during Atlanta Pride, the group collaborated with AID Gwinnett to offer HIV testing and worked to recruit people for HIV vaccine trials at the Emory Hope Clinic.
Atlanta ANAC was also a major supporter of the “Save ADAP” campaign on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. In Georgia, there are currently more than 800 people on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list for lifesaving drugs.
“ANAC is also active in research in all aspects of HIV/AIDS. Just last June we had four members be selected for an oral presentation, among four studies, and present their findings at the prestigious 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna,” Flores says.
One study, conducted by Flores with two other researchers — Barbara Blake and Richard Sowell — focused on young men who have sex with men.
What they found was that despite all the HIV prevention tools and resources available, the information is not made available to young gay and bisexual men early enough.
According to Flores, the sex ed curriculum in schools is based entirely on heterosexual sex, so gay and bisexual men learn about sex on the internet and gay porn where unprotected sex is rampant — therefore teaching them this is the only way to have sex.
Top photo: Members of the Metro Atlanta Association of Nurses in AIDS Care took their message to the streets during Atlanta Pride this year. (Courtesy Dennis Flores)
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