|November 30, 2007|
Gov. Blagojevich announces World AIDS Day in Illinois prevention and awareness efforts
Department of Public Health partners with NAACP and Black Ministers Alliance to sponsor HIV/AIDS testing and awareness events
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich ordered the lights dimmed at the State Capitol in Springfield and other state government buildings tomorrow evening in remembrance of Illinoisans who have lost their lives to AIDS. The 2007 World AIDS Day observance will be held Saturday, December 1, from 6:45 p.m. until 7 p.m. The lights will be dimmed at the State Capitol Rotunda and State Public Health buildings in Springfield, and in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center and Bilandic Building. This year’s World AIDS Day theme is Keeping the Promise through Leadership.
“World AIDS Day focuses global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Here in Illinois, we are keeping that promise by providing the resources necessary to make sure people have access to quality care and getting the word out through our awareness efforts,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
In 2005, the Illinois Department of Public Health estimated that 42,000 people in Illinois were living with HIV/AIDS. Just over 31,000 of these individuals have been tested and know their HIV status. An estimated 10,000 HIV-positive Illinoisans (25 percent) do not know they are infected with the disease.
“For an estimated 42,000 Illinoisans living with HIV, and the tens of thousands of others affected by the epidemic, everyday is World AIDS Day,” said Mark Ishaug, AIDS Foundation of Chicago president and CEO. “Statewide, gay and bisexual men, youth, women and people of color remain at heightened risk, reminding us that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. We must re-double our efforts to address the very factors that fuel HIV/AIDS in all communities , including poverty, substance abuse, homelessness and the lack of healthcare and prevention services.”
The Governor has directed the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to educate and raise awareness about HIV prevention. The agency will hold more than a dozen HIV/AIDS testing and awareness events across the state including a full day of HIV activities on Saturday, December 1 with the Broadcast Ministers’ Alliance of Chicago (BMAC) at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters, 930 E. 50th Street, in Chicago. Workshops and rapid HIV testing are free and open to the general public. IDPH Chief of Staff Quin Golden will receive an award on behalf of Rainbow/PUSH for her public service in working with community-based organizations, specifically in the African-American community, to ensure their participation in state public health programs.
Many other events planned for World AIDS Day observance are the result of a partnership with the state NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Health Committee. (A list of events follows the release.)
“I believe one of the major reasons for the increased incidence of HIV/AIDS among African-Americans in our communities is directly related to lack of knowledge and apathy. Fortunately, through our partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the NAACP Illinois State Conference Health Committee will be able to tackle both issues in honor of World AIDS Day. As a result of this partnership, we have motivated communities throughout Illinois to attend various NAACP-hosted HIV/AIDS activities and provide them life-saving information,” said Barbara Jones, RN BSN, Health Committee Chair, NAACP Illinois State Conference.
Of new HIV/AIDS cases in Illinois, 54 percent are African-American. In Illinois, African-American women represent more than two out of three (68 percent) women living with HIV. In an effort to decrease the racial disparity, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich launched the BASUAH (Brothers And Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) campaign in September 2005 to address the increase of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. BASUAH focuses on education, prevention and testing and targets African-Americans to specifically address the increase in HIV/AIDS cases reported within that community. This year more than $5 million dollars was made available for the BASUAH campaign, the IDPH Center for Minority Health Services and the newly created African-American HIV/AIDS Response Act for culturally sensitive targeted prevention efforts.
The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) community is also greatly affected by HIV and AIDS. In Illinois, gay and bisexual men account for some 60 percent of new AIDS cases reported each year. Throughout Chicago, organizations such as the Howard Brown Health Center are also reaching out, offering free testing on November 30.
“As Illinois’s largest private provider of HIV and AIDS services, Howard Brown salutes all those brave men and women, boys and girls who are living with HIV or AIDS and remember those whom we have lost,” said Michael Cook, Howard Brown President and CEO. “We thank all of those who work with us every day serving those most in need.”
Gov. Blagojevich is an aggressive leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Overall, the Governor has increased HIV/AIDS funding by almost 70 percent since taking office – from $46 million in 2003 to more than $78 million in this year’s budget.
The Governor’s proclamation for World AIDS Day reads as follows:
WHEREAS, preventing the transmission of HIV infection and stopping the spread of AIDS necessitates a worldwide effort to increase communication, education and action; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations now estimates that 33.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS; and
WHEREAS, in Illinois, the number of AIDS cases has reached nearly 35,000 with more than 54 percent of these lives lost to this devastating disease; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has designated December 1 of each year as World AIDS Day, a day to expand and strengthen the worldwide effort to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS; and
WHEREAS, the World AIDS Day 2007 slogan, -- “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise” with this year’s theme “Leadership” -- highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities and civil society organizations, as well as governments, to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS; and
WHEREAS, this day in Illinois is commemorated by a number of events across the state, including the dimming of the lights atop the Illinois State Capitol dome and at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago during the evening hours to coincide with the dimming of the lights at the White House in tribute to those infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS;
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim December 1, 2007 as AIDSAWARENESS DAY in Illinois and encourage all residents to take part in activities and observances designed to increase awareness and understanding of AIDS, to take part in AIDS prevention activities and programs, and to join in the efforts to prevent transmission of HIV and further spread of AIDS.
For information on HIV/AIDS, free counseling and testing services, call 1-800-243-2437 or TTY 1-800-782-0423 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends. Information about HIV/AIDS is also available at www.basuah.org.
World AIDS Day Events
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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