Press Release

February 15, 2006


 Emergency preparedness, HIV/AIDS and women’s health remain Governor’s priorities

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $397 million budget for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that increases spending on the state’s emergency preparedness efforts, HIV/AIDS treatment and breast cancer screening programs for low income and eligible individuals.

The major initiative will be to increase funding to $100 million over five years for the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute to develop treatments and cures through stem cell research, starting with a grant of $15 million in fiscal year 2007 and increasing $2.5 million annually.

The Governor’s fiscal year 2007 budget contains $133 million in general revenue funds. While this represents nearly the same amount as last year, due to the elimination of several one-time add-ons, increases in federal and other state funds will result in an overall Department appropriation increase of 7.4 percent.

“The Department of Public Health has made significant advancements during the last three years, including more spending for drug assistance for people with HIV/AIDS, more screenings for breast and cervical cancer and better emergency preparedness,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.

Approximately $41 million is budgeted for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), an increase of $2 million over last year. The program provides life-saving medications to HIV-infected individuals who are not Medicaid eligible and who are uninsured or under insured. In calendar year 2005, ADAP supplied 128,083 prescriptions to more than 5,600 people. The overall IDPH budget for HIV/AIDS is appropriated at $72 million and includes spending on prevention programs, partner notification, surveillance and counseling and testing services.

As part of the state’s HIV/AIDS education initiatives, in September Gov. Blagojevich launched a comprehensive HIV/AIDS awareness campaign called BASUAH, Brothers And Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS, to address the alarming trend of infection among the state’s African-Americans. Since BASUAH began, IDPH has partnered with African American churches, colleges and universities to encourage HIV/AIDS testing, implemented rules for statewide rapid HIV/AIDS testing, coordinated faith-based community meetings to develop a strategic plan for fighting HIV/AIDS, and participated in a twinning partnership and knowledge exchange with South Africa.

“Public health continues to increase its educational efforts and programs to help protect the health of people in Illinois,” said Dr. Whitaker. “Clear evidence of this is Gov. Blagojevich’s BASUAH program.”

The proposed budget for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) increased by $500,000 to almost $8 million, which allows an additional 1,100 women to receive screening. Since Gov. Blagojevich took office, 36,728 women have been provided 69,289 breast and cervical cancer screenings through the IBCCP. Plus, an additional 29,129 breast and cervical cancer screenings were accomplished through the Stand Against Cancer Initiative, a community-based program targeting the hardest to reach minority women. Total funding for breast and cervical cancer programs is $16.8 million.

The Governor included $300,000 to open a new BioSafety Level 3 laboratory at the Springfield Combined Laboratory located at the SIU-School of Medicine. With the threats of bioterrorism and pandemic influenza, the IDPH laboratory needed a more secure environment to test for some of the most lethal biological agents. The laboratory space has negative air pressure, a changing room, a biosafety cabinet to work with infectious organisms, sealed seams for all walls and electrical lines, as well as respirator and personal protection procedures for employees. A total of $66 million has been appropriated for the Department’s emergency preparedness and response efforts.

The Governor’s budget also includes $14 million to help fund the operations of the state’s 95 certified local health departments, which provide front-line public health services.

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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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