Lifebeat Sends Young People on Tour with Recording Artists to Educate Peers about HIV/AIDS
As part of a $2 million annual effort by the music industry, young volunteers tour the country with various recording artists to educate young fans about HIV/AIDS, the New York Times reports. One volunteer, a "pierce-lipped" 23-year-old named Chris Abrego, has "crossed the country" this summer with Ozzfest, setting up a stand at 40 concerts to answer questions about safe sex, hand out free condoms and refer concert-goers to volunteers from local organizations for HIV testing and treatment. Abrego, who is paid to travel with various music tours, completed several days of training instructed by doctors, social workers and representatives from the New York City-based Gay Men's Health Crisis. Sonya Lockett, communications director for Lifebeat: The Music Industry Fights AIDS, said, "This is a generation that thinks AIDS is very easy to manage -- they don't see it as a death sentence. But these teens listen to and are heavily influenced by the music." Abrego said that some concert-goers "are shy, but they can easily relate to me. I answer all questions, even if they're stupid." He added, "The fans are not going to listen to their teachers or guidance counselors. They will listen to Papa Roach or Ozzy Osbourne at the concert or on the public service announcements. It becomes part of their psyche. It hopefully empowers them to make smart decisions" (Lasky, New York Times, 8/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.