New Orleans, Louisiana November 7, 2012-- The New Orleans Society for Infectious Disease Awareness, Inc. (NOSIDA), a local New Orleans non-profit organization, has announced their lineup for the 4th Annual HIV Awareness Music Project (HAMP). This year, NOSIDA hosts an exciting evening of local Louisiana roots music dedicated to increasing HIV awareness in New Orleans. The event, planned for November 30th at One Eyed Jacks, will feature a host of remarkable local artists who support our mission through their music. NOSIDA is proud to welcome to the stage: Atomic Daddy-O, Clock Work Elvis, and The Louisiana Hellbenders. The event will also be accentuated with the likes of local burlesque troops, The Big Easy Roller Girls and New Orleans finest dancing coteries, The Muff-A-Lotta's and The Jailhouse Rockers; doors at 8:00 and show starts at 9:00.
As with previous years, HAMP 2012 will feature free on-site rapid HIV testing, a prize raffle for charity, and HIV awareness and prevention booths courtesy of the many local HIV service providers that share our commitment and vision.
HAMP is a musical event that is dedicated to raising awareness of HIV in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. "We think that music is an effective mechanism to reach out to young people to promote HIV awareness," states local HIV physician and Executive Director of NOSIDA, MarkAlain Déry. Dr. Déry, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, also comments, "Southern Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is constantly in the top ten cities in the United States for new cases of HIV and AIDS. There are many reasons why Southern Louisiana has been hit so hard with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Race, poverty and poor education are some of the main drivers for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Southern Louisiana."
The signature event that differentiates HAMP from other awareness events is the use of artists and other prominent members of the media to perform "mock" HIV testing live, on stage, to demonstrate to the audience how convenient and easy it is to be tested for HIV. Dr. Déry continues, "we use celebrities and media to promote HIV testing. The process for getting tested is simple; it requires that a swab be rubbed on your gums for an instant, and the results are back in a matter of minutes. We want artist to do the HIV mock testing on stage because musicians or athletes or media figures are 'cool' and we are hopeful that their fans will copy their idols and get tested themselves."
The revenue generated from HAMP will be used to help fund Dr. Dery's HIV clinic, The Tulane T Cell Clinic, a Ryan White recipient that receives funds from the New Orleans Office of Health Policy. The The Tulane T Cell Clinic treats all people living with HIV regardless of their insurance, financial, or housing status.
For the second year in a row, Dr. Déry along with other NOSIDA board members will participate in a 7-day food fast to bring awareness to Louisiana policies that promote an "abstinence-only" curriculum in public schools; despite multiple scientific studies that have shown the abject failure of these policies. Louisiana continues to remain a hotspot for HIV, and the 7-day food fast draws attention to the need for sexuality education policies that have proven results. According to Dr. Dery, a majority of his HIV positive patients that are 21 years and younger have had "no sexuality education or abstinence only sexuality education in the high school".
NOSIDA is committed to raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in Southern Louisiana, through every possible medium. In the last three years, NOSIDA has sponsored five major music events where the artist performed mock HIV testing and free HIV testing was available on site.