Press Release

June 23, 2007


State public health director helps kick-off National HIV Testing Day events in Illinois at Test Fest 2007

Whitaker cautions groups most at-risk for HIV infection - African-American men who have sex with men and African-American women

CHICAGO, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, spoke to crowds today at Test Fest 2007 in Chicago, an event organized to kick-off National HIV Testing Day. Whitaker’s message highlighted the risks of HIV/AIDS, especially in African-American men who have sex with men (MSM), and African-American women, the two populations at highest risk for new HIV infections according to the latest statistics. National HIV Testing Day is an annual campaign sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage voluntary HIV counseling and testing.

“Awareness, education, reducing stigmas and testing are essential to combating HIV/AIDS, especially in high risk populations,” said Dr. Whitaker. “People need to be aware of HIV/AIDS in their community, learn about how the disease is transmitted and what risky behaviors to avoid. We also need to eliminate the stigma surrounding those infected with HIV. Men who have sex with men and illicit drug users are two populations often associated with having HIV – creating a stigma that can prevent people from getting tested. The bottom line - people need to be tested and need to know their status.”

A National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors’ (NASTAD) Call to Action on HIV/AIDS in the African American Community conducted a study of African-American MSM in five urban areas ( Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco). The results showed that of African-American MSM who were tested for HIV, 46 percent were HIV-positive, and approximately two-thirds (67 percent) of African-American MSM did not know their status.

It is believed HIV infection rates among African-American MSM rival those found in many sub- Saharan African countries according to NASTAD. In the same study, African-American women in the U.S. were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at a rate 21 times that of white women.

Illinois is following the same trend as the rest of the nation. In 2006, almost 53 percent (1,208) of all HIV reported cases in Illinois (2,419) were African-American men who have sex with men. MSM was the highest mode of transmission representing 56 percent (978) of reported HIV cases in 2006.

Reported HIV cases for 2006 in Illinois increased by 52 cases from the previous year (2,367). (Numbers are provisional and may change.) Almost 30 percent (799) of reported HIV cases in Illinois for 2006 were white, non-Hispanic and almost 16 percent (288) were Hispanic. Men accounted for 81 percent (1,860) of all reported HIV cases in Illinois for 2006 while women accounted for 19 percent (559). A majority of the cases, 87 percent (1,582) were reported in the Chicago Metropolitan area, which includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties, while the remaining 13 percent (517) were reported downstate. Men who have sex with men followed by intravenous drug use were the leading causes of reported HIV infections among men in Illinois. Women reported high risk heterosexual contact followed by intravenous drug use as the leading causes of reported HIV infections for 2006.

In an effort to eliminate the disparity in the number of African Americans infected with HIV/AIDS, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich launched the BASUAH (Brothers And Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) campaign in September 2005. BASUAH focuses on education, prevention and testing and targets African Americans by specifically funding interventions that are designed to decrease new infections.

One component of BASUAH is the Wellness on Wheels mobile health vans which travel to communities across Illinois and offer HIV testing. Visitors to the wellness van can receive health screenings including HIV, Hepatitis B and C, breast and cervical cancer screenings and blood pressure and cholesterol tests. People visiting the van can receive their HIV test results within half an hour with the use of HIV/AIDS rapid testing for which the State adopted rules on February 3, 2006.

In another component of the BASUAH campaign, the State has worked with African American churches and their youth ministries to establish peer networks that encourage HIV testing.

Programs targeting communities of color, which include African Americans, Hispanics and Asians, are a top priority of the state’s HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) allows those who qualify access to life sustaining medicines. On average, ADAP spends $12,200 per year to provide HIV drugs for each client. An estimated 195 ADAP clients, with an annual income between $13,000 to $19,000, are eligible for both ADAP and Medicare, but cannot afford Medicare’s steep out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.

For more information 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. or visit or

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is assisting in the following National HIV Testing Day activities. (All events are sponsored by IDPH.)

On Thursdays and Saturdays during the Month of June

Miss Camille’s
2224 West Jefferson, Joliet
10 p.m. – Midnight
HIV Testing
Contact: Regional Care Association 815-722-7000

June 23, 2007

Garfield Park
Central Park & Lake Street, Chicago
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. **Dr. Whitaker to speak at 2 p.m.**
HIV Testing, Health Screenings, Live Entertainment & Incentives
Contact: Ben Montgomery 773-533-7520

Vision 2007
108th & Michigan Avenue, Chicago
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Health screenings and HIV testing
Contact: Salem Baptist Church 773-371-2387

June 26, 2007

Sports Bar
3rd & 22nd Street, Rock Island
5 p.m.– 9 p.m.
HIV Testing
Contact: AIDS Project Quad Cities 309-788-5698

June 27, 2007

Southeast Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center
8640 S. South Chicago Ave, Chicago
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
HIV Testing & Counseling, Group Discussion
Contact: Norman Littlejohn, 773-731-9100 ext 256

Springfield Urban League
1108 East Cook Street, Springfield
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
HIV Testing & Incentives
Contact: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority 217-528-0893

Citgo Gas Station
16th & Cook, Springfield
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
HIV Testing & Incentives
Contact: Fifth Street Renaissance/Sara Center 217-544-5040

South Side Help Center
1040 S. Halsted, Chicago
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
HIV Testing & Counseling, Live Entertainment
Contact: South Side Help Center 773-445-5445

Fairview Community Center
Fairview Avenue, Joliet
3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
HIV Testing
Contact: Regional Care Association 815-722-7000

Jewel/Osco Store
87 W. 87th Street, Chicago
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
HIV/AIDS educational materiel distributed
Contact: Black on Black Love Organization 773-978-0868

AIDS Project Quad Cities
115 17th Street, Rock Island
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
HIV Testing
Contact: Wendy Kelly 309-788-5698

Shop City Plaza
4601 State Street, East St. Louis
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
HIV Testing
Contact: Harold Lawary 618-558-1824

Main Street Church of the Living God
2000 N. Main Street, Decatur
5 p.m.– 8 p.m.
HIV Testing
Contact: Youth With a Positive Direction 217-875-1633

June 28, 2007

Sunset Heights Apartments
3130 9th Street, Rock Island
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Contact: AIDS Project Quad Cities 309-788-5698  

June 29, 2007

Save-A-Lot Grocery Store
2627 7th Avenue, Rock Island
3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Contact: AIDS Project Quad Cities 309-788-5698

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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