Local Bands Raise AIDS Awareness

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AIDS may be one of the worlds major problems, but here at home the perception is that the HIV virus is worlds away.

"The perception has changed because of the medication and everybody is living longer," says Brazos Valley Director of AIDS Services Maria Madison. "Everybody is in the mindset that it's not that big of a deal, not like it was when it came out 20 years ago."

Marla also says that recent figures show the problems of HIV and AIDS are getting closer to home.

"Since I've been with the agency the number of new positives in the Brazos Valley has risen considerably, last year we had about 35 new positives and here to date we've had over 20," says Madison. "So the fact of the matter is that everywhere it's growing and people are not taking the disease seriously."

That's why AIDS Services of the Brazos Valley has teamed up with several local bands to put on two benefit concerts highlighting AIDS awareness in the Bryan/College Station area.

The benefit concerts at Club 2010 and Revolution waived all cover charges for anyone willing to take an AIDS test.

Members of the local rock band Deadpan World say they were more than happy to contribute to the concert and a cause they feel is regularly ignored.

"A lot of people think that ignorance is bliss, but I say acceptance is," says Deadpan World member Jessica Kempen. "We think it doesn't exist because it doesn't immediately affect us, but it does."

Lead singer of Deadpan World, Randall McKay says, "It might be a shame for somebody to come out of here with AIDS or something like that, but it's kind of like putting the fire underneath them to do something."

More than 400 people are expected to attend both concerts, National HIV Testing Day is Monday, June 27.