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Access Health Louisiana (AHL) is proud to participate in and sponsor several local events to unite in the fight against HIV. On, December 7th, the AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) unveiled a 12×12 foot part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the AETC office. The AETC is located inside the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) at 900 Camp Street in New Orleans. The public was welcomed to view the quilt at the CAC, followed by a reception, including speakers.
Each 3×6 foot section of the memorial quilt commemorates one life lost to AIDS. The quilt has been on display across the United States including our nation’s capital. It is an important reminder that we all have to do our part to help fight the spread of HIV.Dr. MarkAlain Dery, Chief Innovation Officer and Medical Director of Ryan White services with AHL, is committed to helping people prevent and diagnose HIV. “Southern Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is constantly in the top five 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. Policies that lead vulnerable communities, such as communities of color — into poverty, unstable housing, poor education options as well as incarceration, are some of the driving forces that lead to the high rates of HIV in Southern Louisiana.” One way Dr. Dery is leading the fight against HIV is through music.On Saturday, December 8th, AHL sponsored WHIV Radio’s 10th annual HAMP Fest — an HIV Awareness Music Project. Three musical guests performed including: People Museum, Salt Wives and Tasche’ and the Angels. The event took place at the Siberia Lounge at 2227 St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans. As with previous years, HAMP 2018 featured on-site rapid HIV testing provided by Access Health Louisiana. The musical event helped raise awareness of HIV in the Crescent City. “We think that music is an effective mechanism to reach out to young people to promote HIV awareness,” says Dr. Dery. Dery is not only an infectious disease physician with AHL, but he is also the Executive Director of local social justice radio station 102.3 FM WHIV.As part of NOLA AIDS Awareness Week, AHL’s Outreach and FOCUS teams also participated in a health fair on November 29th at the New Orleans library downtown near Duncan Plaza. Free, private HIV testing is always available at all of AHL’s clinic locations.