LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — North Las Vegas opened its first LGBTQ+ center. The long-awaited Equality Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday afternoon to celebrate the community-supported organization which exists to engage and empower the LGBTQ+ community.
Trevor Harder is the youth services director of the North Las Vegas Equality Center and shared his excitement to be part of the community.
“The Vegas chamber even brought out the rainbow ribbon for us to cut to open our center,” Harder said. “We have a ton of services from social and support groups to after-school tutoring and our wellness clinic with free rapid HIV testing and STI testing.”
Harder was met by several city and state representatives including Susie Lee’s Office, Dina Titus, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, as well as the North Las Vegas Police Department.
Harder stated that opening up a location in North Las Vegas has been in the works for a while because it was obvious that the need was there.
“Transportation is an issue for a lot of people, so bringing it to North Las Vegas we open up our service to a whole plethora of people that can’t make it to Henderson for whatever reason,” Harder said. “We do see a lot of patients coming in in Southern Nevada, we are one of the highest ranked for HIV infections.”
Dr. Christina Madison, a clinical pharmacist in Clark County acknowledged the increase in infections she has seen locally.
“We’ve had an increase in the rate of infections here in the state of Nevada. Particularly in Clark County and Southern Nevada,” Madison said. “Part of it is the hookup culture, apps, and people able to have casual encounters. Also, a lot of it has to do with the de-stigmatization of HIV. The issue without using a barrier method or without use of PREP is because they either don’t have a perceived risk or they feel if they do have something there is a treatment for it.”
Harder also shared with 8 News Now that they have one doctor on site who splits their time between North Las Vegas and Henderson. The next step is to get mental health counselors at their facility as well.