A local HIV and HCV prevention organization will hold its 11th annual benefit concert at the Mayo Hotel on August 24th.
Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc. (HOPE), a 501(c)3 non-profit group offering STD outreach education and testing to Tulsa metropolitan area since 1998, holds the event each year to raise awareness and funds for prevention efforts.
The benefit concert, called DIVAS3 (Divalicious, Divafabulous, Divafantastic), will be held in the Crystal Ballroom at the Mayo Hotel beginning at 6:45 p.m. on August 24th.
The goal of DIVAS3 is to put an end to HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) through education and testing. The idea is that if people are educated with the latest information on STDs and know their status, they can make informed decisions.
"Divas" scheduled to take the stage include Christy Hanewinkel, Cindy Cain, Heather Richetto-Rumley, John Sawyer, Kristin Nicole, Olivia Duhon, Pam Van Dyke, Rebecca Ungerman, Sarah Maud, and Tavis Minner.
Mia Fleming will host the evening's show, which will be produced by Spinning Plates Productions.
In addition to the dinner and entertainment, the event will also feature silent and live auctions.
Prizes will include a one-week stay in St. Kitts for six, one week in Belize for two, five nights at Big Sky Mountain Village for four, five nights at Rehoboth Beach for six, a plan-your-own dinner for twenty.
HOPE has already received early sponsorships from organizations and businesses such as the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, WPX Energy, OMNI Lighting, Inc., Boomerang Printing, and many more.
Sponsorships start at $1500, individual tickets are $150, and the after party only tickets are $50.
As of December 31, 2008, there were approximately 4,605 people living with HIV in Oklahoma.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
Nationally and worldwide, one out of every 100 people is infected with HIV. One out of five people infected with HIV in the U.S. is unaware that they have it. One-half of new HIV diagnoses occur in people under the age of 25.
HOPE's Executive Director, Kathy Williams, told KTUL.com in March that three Oklahoma counties account for the majority of current HIV cases in the state—Oklahoma County (27.7%), Tulsa County (23.0%), and Cleveland (11.3%).
Tulsa County currently has an HIV positivity rate of 1%.
Tulsa County has an HCV positivity rate of 21%.
In addition to outreach education and testing, HOPE also operates the only statewide Oklahoma HIV/sexually transmitted infections (STI) resource hotline, 800-535-AIDS (2437).
For more information on HOPE or DIVAS3, visit www.hopetesting.org or call 918-749-TEST (8378).
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