Community Awareness Network (CAN)
The C.A.N. Project, located at 507 Frenchmen St, works with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community to offer HIV prevention activities. Some of the programs out of the CAN office include:
- Rapid HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral
- Condoms and safer sex information availability
- Online outreach, providing HIV prevention for the online gay community
- Re:Vision: Young gay/bi men’s social networking Mpowerment Program
- New Orleans Gay Mens Wellness Center
- Individual counseling for people struggling with issues around HIV and risk reduction
What is NO/AIDS Task Force Community Awareness Network (CAN)?
CAN was started in 2000 and celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2010. CAN is a satellite office of NO/AIDS Task Force, dedicated to bringing a number of HIV prevention programs to the heart of the French Quarter/Marigny area. These services range from providing condoms and information to rapid, oral swab HIV testing to support and activities that promote sexual health and HIV risk reduction.
Why was CAN Created?
Gay and bisexual men still represent the group with the highest reported risk of HIV infection in Louisiana. When CAN was established in 2000, in New Orleans more than 60% of gay and bisexual men, who were HIV positive, lived in the French Quarter/Marigny area (where the rate of infection was 12 people per 1000 compared to 3 people per 1000 statewide, Louisiana Office of Public Health HIV/AIDS Surveillance, February 15, 2000). Many gay and bisexual men still live, work, and socialize in the French Quarter. Young gay and bisexual men are at especially high risk, because of misinformation and myths of a cure. A recent report by CDC indicated that men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by new HIV infections. While CDC estimates that MSM represent only 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for the majority (61 percent; 29,300) of all new HIV infections in 2009. Young MSM (ages 13 to 29) were most severely affected, representing more than one quarter of all new HIV infections nationally (27 percent; 12,900 in 2009). In the New Orleans Metropolitan Area, men who have sex with men accounted for 65% of HIV cases diagnosed in 2010 (Louisiana HIV/AIDS Surveillance Quarterly Report, March 31, 2011). Our community is still at risk, and it is still up to us to change that!
Who are Our Funders?
Community Awareness Network (CAN), a program of NO/AIDS Task Force, was created to bring a new approach to HIV prevention to the men’s community in the French Quarter/Marigny area. CAN originally received funding through a four (4) year grant, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to work with and mobilize the men’s community. CAN is currently funded through a five (5) year grant from the CDC, a three (3) year grant from the Louisiana Office of Public Health, and generous donations from the community.