AJN On the Cover
On our cover this month are members of the Sexy With A Goal (SWAG) program, who posed for a portrait at the AIDS Service Center of New York City (ASCNYC) Lower East Side Peer Outreach Center. SWAG is one of the many programs the ASCNYC provides for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals affected by HIV and AIDS. The ASCNYC uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evidence-based intervention called “mPowerment”—an HIV prevention program specifically designed to address the needs of young gay and bisexual men. (The incidence of HIV in the United States is highest among black men and men of all races and ethnicities who have sex with men, although it has also increased among women.)
SWAG aims to end the stigma surrounding AIDs while increasing community awareness about the disease. The group is mostly made up of HIV-positive men ages 19 to 29 who use outreach to identify at-risk individuals and teach them about HIV prevention. They also help those with AIDS to develop coping skills and increase self-esteem.
The photo reflects the changing face of the AIDs epidemic. Thirty years ago, a diagnosis of HIV was tantamount to a death sentence. But the men on our cover prove that this is no longer the case. With advances in treatment and patient advocacy, education, and support, HIV is now a chronic, manageable disease. People with HIV who seek and remain in care can enjoy an improved quality of life and a greater life expectancy. To learn what nurses can do to encourage testing and retain patients in long-term care, see this month's CE feature, “Nursing in the Fourth Decade of the HIV Epidemic.” For more on SWAG and the ASCNYC, visit www.ascnyc.org.—Michael Fergenson, Senior Editorial Coordinator