October 4, 2006
Illinois Department of Public Health works with businesses to fight HIV/AIDS
Consumers to receive information to educate and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced a pilot project as part of BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. The Business and Labor Respond to AIDS Project kicked off during an event with African American business owners and operators.
The Business and Labor Respond to AIDS Project is a public education campaign targeting the Springfield community. Merchants and business owners that are working with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will now display and distribute materials in their stores that feature HIV/AIDS prevention messages. The goal of this project mirrors the overall message of Governor Blagojevich’s BASUAH campaign, which is to educate African Americans about HIV prevention and encourage testing.
“With the high number of HIV/AIDS cases in African American communities, we have to fight this disease head on,” said Dr. Whitaker. “Getting more partners on board, like these Springfield business owners and operators, to work with state and local agencies, schools and churches, ensures that we reach all parts of our community. We want to reduce HIV related stigma, connect residents to local resources and to bring new energy to the HIV prevention fight by fully involving the business community.”
Gov. Blagojevich launched BASUAH last year to address the alarming trend of infection among the African American community in Illinois. Statistics show in 2004 African Americans (who only account for 15-percent of the population) accounted for 54-percent of the new reported HIV/AIDS cases in the state (or 2,120 cases out of total of 3,933 cases in Illinois.) One year after the launch of this statewide campaign to educate, heighten awareness and encourage testing within the African American community, statistics show a decrease. African Americans accounted for 50-percent of the new reported HIV/AIDS cases reported in Illinois (or 1,949 cases out of 3,906.)
The “Business and Labor Respond to AIDS Project” started with about 20 African -American owned and operated businesses, but there are plans to increase that number by reaching out to other businesses in Springfield.
Businesses participating in the Business and Labor Respond to AIDS Project will show their support by displaying decals in their store windows that feature the BASUAH logo and the 1-800 Illinois AIDS Hotline number for residents to call for more information. Stores will also distribute HIV/AIDS prevention messages on posters, flyers, custom-designed grocery bags, shopping bags, and other items.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has a similar effort with business owners in Chicago.
The “Stopping AIDS is Everyone’s Business”campaign is a collaboration between the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the 87th Street/Stony Island Chamber of Commerce, Le Penseur Youth & Family Services, and more than 25 local businesses along the 87th Street corridor.
For more information about BASUAH, visit www.basuah.org or call the Illinois HIV/AIDS and STD hotline 1-800-243-2437 during the following hours: M-F 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Weekends 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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