June 25, 2010
State Health Director Encourages Illinoisans to Take the Test, Take Control for National HIV Testing Day
Illinois ranks 7 for highest number of AIDS cases in the nation
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is encouraging Illinoisans to recognize National HIV Testing Day this Sunday, June 27, 2010, and to heed the advice of this year’s theme, Take the Test, Take Control. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is sponsoring events around the state to encourage people to get tested and learn their HIV status.
“National HIV Testing Day is observed on June 27 every year to promote HIV testing,” Dr. Arnold said. “This day is an opportunity for people to learn their HIV status and to gain knowledge to take control of their health and their lives.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of five people living with HIV in the U.S. is unaware they are infected.
Illinois has the seventh highest number of AIDS cases in the nation, with more than 41,000 reported cases since 1981. Of those diagnosed with AIDS, about 20,000 have died.
As of May 31, 2010, there were almost 60,000 HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in Illinois. Of the total cases diagnosed:
Among men, the major risk factor for HIV infection is men who have sex with men, 68 percent, followed by injection drug use, 18 percent. Among women, the major risk factor for HIV infection is heterosexual contact, 55 percent, followed by injection drug use, 44 percent.
To help reduce these numbers, IDPH is promoting free HIV testing, through its partners, on June 27 as part of National HIV Testing Day. The IDPH Center for Minority Health Services is also sponsoring numerous events (see below) and will unveil two video public service announcements (PSA) encouraging people to “Know their Status and Get Tested.” The first PSA is entitled MAGIC and features a one minute excerpt from the winner of the Center for Minority Health Services National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day contest. The second PSA is an excerpt from the trailer for the Center for Minority Health Services documentary A Mirror to the Heart: Breaking the Stigma of HIV/AIDS. Both will air on Comcast's BET station through Sunday, June 27 and viewers will be encouraged to visit www.basuah.org to view both in their entirety. Interactive games, videos and other educational materials can be found on the 3-D virtual reality education island – BASUAH in Second Life, which can also be found at www.basuah.org.
To find an HIV testing site, the Text2Survive testing locator tool is available. Using a mobile phone, text “IL” plus the zip code to 36363 for English, or text “centro” plus the zip code to 36363 for Spanish. A confidential text message will be sent to the phone identifying the nearest HIV/AIDS testing center contact information.
Illinois Department of Public Health National HIV Testing Day 2010 sponsored events:
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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