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Vaccine-o-licious Drag Pageant Raises Awareness for HIV Research

New York Blood Center’s Project Achieve and Columbia Research Unit hosted their 19th annual charity competition. The theme this year was “Volunteer, Vaccinate and Vote!”

New York Blood Center’s Project ACHIEVE and Columbia Research Unit on Sunday hosted their 19th Annual Vaccine-O-Licious event in partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and AIDS Healthcare Foundation at the 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn.

The event was co-hosted by New York City drag superstars Stella D’oro and Jus Jahlisa, with performances by Amanda Pörq, JMV, Jayse Vegas and AriaJae.

The theme of this year’s event was “Volunteer, Vaccinate and Vote!” with a focus on encouraging attendees to register to vote and participate in the upcoming election, according to a news release. 

The event is held each year during pride month and includes a drag competition featuring eight contestants, with the winner being named Mx Vaccine-O-Licious 19. This year's winner was Jei'Lanye Nelson. 

Project ACHIEVE and Columbia Research Unit also hosted a table with HIV education materials and sign up opportunities for future HIV prevention studies.

“We are thrilled to be able to host the 19th annual Vaccine-O-licious at the iconic Queer bar 3 Dollar Bill for the second consecutive year in a row. This event is essential to continuing Project ACHIEVE’s mission to increase community awareness about the essential HIV research and prevention efforts here in New York City, with hopes of raising awareness about the need for a preventative HIV vaccine,” said John Bonelli, community engagement and recruitment manager at New York Blood Center’s Project ACHIEVE. 

The event is an important part of our work and our mission, said Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and principal investigator of Columbia Research Unit.

“It is an amazing, celebratory, and fun way to educate about HIV and sexual health and empower the communities to have their voices represented in HIV prevention research," she said.