June 27, 1995
THOSE AT RISK OF HIV INFECTION SHOULD SEEK COUNSELING AND TESTING
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- As part of National HIV Testing Day (June 27), the Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging persons who believe they may be at risk of HIV infection to seek counseling and testing at one of 54 state-funded sites or to contact their private physician.
The state's free, anonymous counseling and testing sites are located throughout the state and persons can find the site nearest them by calling the Illinois AIDS Hotline at 1-800-AID-AIDS or, for the hearing impaired, 1-800-782-0423. The hotline answers calls between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.
Since 1988, more than 125,000 persons have taken advantage of the state-funded counseling and testing services.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said although there is no cure for AIDS or HIV, new therapeutic medicines, especially treatments for opportunistic infections, provide evidence that early diagnosis and health care can better the chance an HIV infected person can stay healthier and live longer.
At the same time, civil rights concerns have been reduced by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides legal protection to persons with HIV from acts of discrimination.
"Our hope is that the knowledge of this progress will encourage those who have put themselves at risk of HIV infection to seek counseling and testing services," Dr. Lumpkin said.
Behaviors that may place a person at risk of HIV infection are having sex or sharing needles with an injecting-drug user, being the sex partner of a man who has sex with men, having unprotected sex with several partners, having unprotected sex with a person who is infected with HIV, or having received a blood transfusion prior to 1985 when the blood supply was not screened for HIV.
In Illinois, the number of AIDS cases reported since 1981 is 15,308, the sixth highest total in the United States. Of that figure, 9,390, or 61 percent, have died.
National HIV Testing Day is being sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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