in the news/2
Volume 16/Issue 22

LSUMC Participates in
Landmark HIV Vaccine Trial

Dr. Richard DiCarlo, an infectious disease specialist at LSU Medical Center, 433 Bolivar St., New Orleans, is enrolling participants in the country's first Phase III HIV vaccine trial. The trial is investigating whether or not AIDSVAX, a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type-1 developed by VaxGen, Inc., can prevent HIV-1 infection in people who are at risk of infection by sexual contact. About 5,000 people will be enrolled nationwide at about 30 centers. LSU Medical Center in New Orleans, the sixth site to participate, is seeking to enroll 150 people.

It is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study which is expected to last at least three years. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the vaccine or an identical-looking placebo. Two-thirds will get the actual vaccine, but no one will know until the end of the trial who got what. Because of this and because it is estimated that even if the vaccine is very effective, it would only offer protection to 60-70 percent of those vaccinated, counseling on how to reduce high risk behavior is an integral part of the study.

Participants must be between 18 and 60 years old, HIV-negative and in a group at high risk for HIV infection. These include Gay or Bisexual men not involved in a monogamous relationship with an HIV-negative partner; or women who are currently in a sexual relationship with an HIV-positive male, or who have had multiple partners and one or more documented sexually transmitted diseases within the past 12 months. Exclusions include i.v. drug use, pregnancy, and a history of immunosuppressive disease, among others.

There is no risk of HIV-1 infection because the vaccine is man-made of a synthetic portion of the surface protein and does not contain actual virus. If the vaccine works, however, it will cause antibodies to be produced, which would show up as a positive result in subsequent standard diagnostic HIV tests.

Each participant will come in for 16 scheduled visits over the three-year period, be asked about risk factors and undergo blood tests for HIV. The vaccine or placebo will be given seven different times.

Phase I and II trials of AIDSVAX have shown it to be safe and induce a strong immune response. An earlier version of the vaccine, tested in 1,200 people induced antibodies against HIV in 99.5 percent of those vaccinated. Phase III trials are designed to study the safety and efficacy of an experimental vaccine or drug and, if successful, are a critical step toward FDA approval.

For more information about the AIDSVAX trial at LSU Medical Center, call 504.568.4658.

Nominations Requested
for 1998 Spirit Award

Nominations are requested for the 1998 Spirit award which is to be presented by Vieux Carre Metropolitan Community Church (VCMCC) to five individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service and leadership in the queer community in the areas of Celebration/Pride, Education, Community and/or Care.

Nomination information is to include: 1) The nominee's name, address and phone number; 2) Description of community service; and, 3) Description of community leadership.

Please send nomination information to VCMCC at 1128 St. Roch Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119; by fax: 504.945.1638; or, telephone: 504.945.5390. Deadline for receipt of nominations is Oct. 31.

The award will be presented in a gala celebration to be held at the historic Claiborne Mansion, 2111 Dauphine St., Sat., Nov. 21, 7 - 9pm. A Thanksgiving style buffet, local entertainment, silent auction and other activities will compliment the award ceremony. Proceeds will benefit the community and outreach programs of VCMCC which are: The Living Room, a day drop in center for adults living with HIV; SS & M-Spirituality, Sexuality and Me-a panel discussion; The Food Pantry, serving people in need; and, the VCMCC Scholarship, a PFLAG program.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 per person by calling VCMCC at 504.945.5390.

Jubilee of Prayer

Vieux Carre' MCC will host a "Jubilee of Prayer" on Sun., Nov. l from 6am until 6pm. The twelve-hour Jubilee will be an opportunity to participate in six different types of prayer: Adoration, Atonement, Celebration, Community, Reflection, and Healing.

Although there will be a continual attitude of prayer within the sanctuary, three gatherings will take place. At 6am the gathering will focus on preparation for the exploration of the images of the Deity. At 11am there will be a worship celebration of which the theme will be "All Saints." Following the worship celebration participants are invited to take part in a walk to the St. Roch Cemetary. The final gathering will occur at 5pm and will be a time of healing.

Attend the Jubilee of Prayer at 1128 St. Roch Ave.

Harvest of Blessings

Make plans to attend VCMCC's "Harvest of Blessings" Gala and Awards Ceremony on Sat., Nov. 21. The event will take place from 7pm until 9pm at the Historic Claiborne Mansion located at 2111 Dauphine St. across from Washington Square. Among the events scheduled for the evening will be the 1998 Spirit Awards, in which five individuals will be honored for their significant contributions to the community in the past year. Additionally, there will be lots of entertainment as well as a harvest-theme buffet. And finally, the evening's events will include a Silent Auction at which there will be opportunities to make bids for valuable items. This evening of food, fun, and entertainment is yours for only $10. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the care ministries of VCMCC as well as the PFLAG Scholarship Program. To purchase tickets or for more information, call Vieux Carre MCC at 504.945.5390.

A Day of Thanksgiving & Praise

Thurs., Nov. 21 will mark the fourth consecutive year in which Vieux Carre MCC invites the entire community to gather for a traditional Thanksgiving Day potluck dinner, following the 11am singing and praise-giving. Be sure to bring plenty of food because half of the Thanksgiving meal will be delivered to Lazarus House. Following the meal, everyone will have the opportunity to help prepare the sanctuary for Advent. Make plans to attend this time of fellowship at VCMCC located at 1128 St. Roch Ave.

The Krewe of Mwindo Does Halloween

A new African American Mardi Gras krewe, the Krewe of Mwindo (named after an African Methodological God) has been organized to "thrill and entertain our community" with a Mardi Gras Bal Masque to be held on Sun., Jan. 17, 1999 at the St. Bernard Cultural Center. The ball will commence at 8pm.

The krewe was begun to foster and build friendship and to hold an annual ball for the members and the community and will be throwing its First Annual Halloween Bash Fri., Oct. 30, 10pm, at Mamma Rosa's, 616 N. Rampart St. with an open bar. Attending this function guarantees an invitation to the krewe's ball. Advance tickets are $10; at the door, $12. For tickets call 504.283.2715.

Mwindo meets the first Mon. of very month at 1225 N. Rampart St. For information call 504.283.2715.

Officers of the Krewe of Mwindo are Thomas Franklin, III, President; Charles Haynes, Vice President; Marvin M. Ghourm, Secretary; Evans Alexander, Treasurer; Norman Zardes, Fin. Secretary; Jacob Simmons, Special Lieutenant; Byron Hogans, Ball Lieutenant; and, Carlos Butler, Ball Captain.

Halloween Weekend at the Bourbon Pub

The Bourbon Pub / Parade, New Orleans largest Gay video and dance club, has put together their most incredible holiday weekend lineup in the club's 25 year history.

Kicking things off on Thurs., Oct. 29 will be the annual Hot Buns Contest at the Parade, hosted by the fabulous Scarlett O'Hara Butler. Cash Prizes will be awarded to winners chosen by audience response. This is always one of the most outrageous nights of the year at the Parade, so arrive early for a good view of all those naked buns. Contestants should register at the Parade entrance before midnight. The contest begins upstairs at midnight, and dance music for the evening will be by the Parade's own mixtress DJ Lydia Prim.

On Fri., Oct. 30, the Parade welcomes New Orleans' own DJ Max Rodriguez, direct from New York City for the MAXimum IMPACT party. There will be a late-laternight unbelievable performance by the legendary Chi Chi LaRue. Joining Chi Chi for this XXX-citing show will be porn superstars Eric Hanson, Chase Hunter, Drew Damon, and Josh Hart. Max Rodriguez will begin at 1am, following the Parade's own award-winning DJ Darren Thomas who will be spinning from 9pm until 1 am.

On Halloween Night, Sat., Oct. 31, the Parade welcomes Circuit DJ Rick Mitchell back for an encore performance at their AfterShock party. You'll remember that Rick is the DJ that brought the house down last Halloween at the Parade, keeping the place rocking until way past noon on All Saints Day! And your hostess for the AfterShock will be none other than Chi Chi LaRue. This will be the ONLY place to be after the Project Lazarus fund raiser.

And on Sun. night, Nov. 1 the Parade presents ResERECTION with circuit DJ-extraordinaire Abel, direct from Miami. Back by popular demand, this will be Abel's fourth appearance at the Parade, mixing his unique brand of circuit grooves.

All of these guest DJs will be joining the Bourbon Pub/Parade's own award-winning staff of Darren Thomas, Lydia Prim, Wayne Mancuso, Tedd Elison and Jeffrey Talbot. Visuals for the weekend will be by Rob Guenther and David DePriest.

VIP Weekend Passes are now on sale in New Orleans at Hit Parade (located across the street from the Bourbon Pub) and in Los Angeles at the Sporting Club (located in West Hollywood).

Weekend VIP Passes

If you like a bargain and VIP treatment, then be sure to get one of the Parade's Halloween weekend VIP passes. The pass is good for free admission to the Parade on Fri., Sat. and Sun. of Halloween weekend. As an added bonus, if you buy early, the pass will also be good for free admission on Thurs., Oct. 29 for the Hot Buns Contest at The Parade. VIP pass holders will be guaranteed admission all weekend, and there is a special VIP entrance allowing pass holders to bypass the lines of people waiting to pay to get into the Parade. Only a limited number of these passes will be sold, so don't miss out!! Passes, on sale now at Hit Parade in New Orleans and Sporting Club in Los Angeles, are only $25 if purchased before Oct.29; $30 thereafter.

The Parade is located above the Bourbon Pub at the corner of Bourbon and St Ann St. For more information 504.529.2107.

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