Benefit concert to raise money for Tulane HIV clinic

December 9, 2013 4:00 PM

Keith Brannon

At most concerts in New Orleans, musicians take a break in between sets, but at Friday’s HIV Awareness Music Project (HAMP) concert, performers will be onstage swabbing their mouths with a 20-minute HIV test and spreading the word about AIDS prevention.

HAMP concert

“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,” says Dr. MarkAlain Déry, left, demonstrating on stage last year.

The point is to show how easy it is to get an HIV test while also raising money for the Tulane University T-Cell Clinic, a weekly clinic within the Ruth U. Fertel/Tulane Community Health Center that provides free or low-cost care for HIV-positive patients regardless of their insurance status.

“We think that music is an effective mechanism to reach out to young people to promote HIV awareness,” says Dr. MarkAlain Déry, director of the T-Cell Clinic, who has staged music benefit concerts for the past five years to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and prevention. 

As with previous years, HAMP 2013 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.

“Southern Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is constantly in the top 10 cities in the United States for new cases of HIV and AIDS,” Déry says. 

The concert, which costs $15 to attend, is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 13) at the Howlin Wolf. Performers include Quintron and Miss Pussycat, The Mike Dillon Band, Vox and the Hound, and Les Autres.

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.

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