World AIDS Day observance to feature entertainment, New Orleans-style procession, HIV testing

Musical performances, a New Orleans-style memorial procession, brief remarks by elected officials, a large screen projection of names of people who have died of AIDS and free HIV testing will highlight a program observing World AIDS Day on Friday, Dec. 1.

The ceremony will include a keynote address by AIDS activist Damon Humes, a testimonial by an area resident living with AIDS and brief remarks by Houston City Council Members Ada Edwards, Sue Lovell and Adrian Garcia and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and State Rep. Garnet Coleman.

Texas Southern University’s Secondline Jazz Band will then lead participants in the memorial procession across the street to Hermann Square near City Hall for a “Celebration of Life and Hope.” Musical performers will include Gospel and R&B vocalist Angela Bennett, Rap recording artist Lil J. Xavier, pianist Patricio Bedon, Rap and Reggae performers A Dutch and The Beauty Shop, a girls group from the High School for Performing and Visual Arts.

Participants will have the opportunity to remember friends or loved ones who have died of AIDS through a special memorial name drop in which names will be projected on a large projection screen. Twenty-five balloons will be released, symbolizing the 25 years of the AIDS pandemic. Free HIV testing will be offered and participating organizations will staff booths with educational information about HIV, AIDS and local prevention and care services. Participants will receive red wrist bands with a STOP AIDS message.

World AIDS Day is organized annually to raise awareness of the impact that AIDS has in society and help prevent the spread of HIV.

A total of 23,787 AIDS cases have been reported to HDHHS since the epidemic started. Cases of new HIV infection reported to HDHHS between January 1999 and September 2006 total 13,382.

For more information, call 713-794-9092.

This news release was issued on November 27, 2006.