[A portion of the AIDS quilt is on display at Washoe County's Health Department until Friday.
Panels are made in memory of those who have died of AIDS. But there are plenty of people here in Northern Nevada who are living with this disease. "Every day should be world aids day because it is for me, I know I have this disease every day."
Those are the first words that came to "Jaye's" mind as we sat underneath the quilt and talked about how the disease and awareness have changed her life. Diagnosed back in 19-88 in a Florida jail she remembers not much was known about the disease, except that it was a death sentence.
" Brought us our food on disposable trays wearing masks and gloves we all thought it was a death sentence that we would be dead in one to three years."
17-years ago, Jaye was in the minority as a female h-i-v patient. Today it's a different story. Women are one of the fastest growing populations for h-i-v infections
Jennifer Howell an educator from Washoe Count Health District says, ": We are seeing an increase in women for the first time we actually had more female patients than males at one point this year."
Howell says methamphetamine--not as widely available 25-years ago..now plays a major role in infection.
" It is a concern for anyone who uses it they are putting themselves at extreme risk if they are engaging in unprotected sx."
It can get discouraging and frustrating...which is one of the reasons for this year's seminar "Emerging Issues in H-I-V/AIDS, New responses to the H-I-V epidemic in Northern Nevada." A long title but one organizers hope will be motivating. In the meantime for those on the streets Jaye hopes her words motivate them to take care of themselves.
" Don't assume anything. People will lie to you they will tell you whatever they can to be intimate with you or to share drugs with you or whatever. You cannot tell just by looking at someone that they are infected with hiv or other disease."