Desert AIDS Walk Puts Project's Best Foot Forward

Palm Springs resident participates to give back for HIV support services



Palm Springs resident Nicolas Snow has been living with HIV since 2007.

Courtesy of Nicolas Snow

 

Palm Springs resident Nicholas Snow could have felt very alone.

In 2007, after an encounter in Thailand while working as a foreign correspondent for his own production company, Snow was diagnosed as HIV positive.

Without health insurance, he returned to Palm Springs because “I wanted to become a client of the Desert AIDS Project to build a solid foundation to continue my life and my work,” he explains.

A Sense of Belonging
Desert AIDS Project gave Snow a sense of belonging, a shoulder to lean on and people willing to advocate on his behalf. He took up residence at the Vista Sunrise apartments affiliated with the Desert AIDS Project campus where he has immediate access to his primary care physician, support groups, and necessary treatments.

“Because of the support of the Desert AIDS Project, I am thriving today, and am well-poised to continue doing so,” Snow says. “I cannot express enough gratitude for the staff and volunteers, who I view as my family.”

Snow will give back to Desert AIDS Project by participating in the Desert AIDS Walk at 8 a.m. Oct. 19 at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs. Registration starts at 8 a.m. followed by a warm-up at 9 a.m. and the walk at 9:30 a.m.

“Get Tested Coachella Valley”
Presented by Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and a host of local sponsors, the 26th annual Desert AIDS Walk helps benefit both Desert AIDS Project and its community partners. Desert AIDS Walks have helped to raise more than $6 million over the years.

“I’ve walked in this event and it’s great, especially as someone who benefits directly from its services, to give back and to give a name face and story as a person living with HIV and to normalize the experience,” Snow says.

This year’s edition is also the official kick-off of a broader program to bring together a coalition of partner organizations throughout the Coachella Valley with the initiative: “Get Tested Coachella Valley”.

Additional non-profit partners that encourage awareness and testing include:  AIDS Assistance Program, Mizell Senior Center, The Center, Equality California, Planned Parenthood, St. Paul in the Desert, and Temple Isaiah. 

According to Brett Klein of Desert AIDS Project, “In absence of a cure, it’s said that the key to ending the AIDS epidemic is to test, aid and treat everyone who is potentially HIV positive.

“In effect, a person on appropriate medication can help diminish the progression of the AIDS disease and is 96 percent less likely to transmit the virus,” he adds.

Empowerment
Snow continues his work as a successful, actor, radio host, musician, and author, but has found new purpose as an HIV/AIDS advocate and person living “powerfully” with HIV.

“The beautiful thing about Desert AIDS Walk is that it brings people from all walks of life together, both HIV positive and HIV negative, all who embrace each other and are committed to ending this disease,” Snow says.

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