SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced Illinois will participate in the nation's 14th annual observance of World AIDS Day by dimming the Capitol dome lights and lights at state government buildings in Springfield and Chicago on the evening of December 1.
“The dimming of the lights is a visual reminder of Illinois’ commitment to stopping the spread of this deadly disease," Governor Ryan said. "It is also a time to remember and lend support to those who, during the past 20 years, have felt the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS."
In Illinois, there have been 26,003 reported cases of AIDS since 1981 and of those diagnosed with the disease, 15,322 or 59 percent have died. Illinois has the sixth highest number of AIDS cases in the nation.
With the theme “I Care ... Do You? Youth and AIDS in the 21st Century,” this year’s World AIDS Day highlights youth and HIV/AIDS.
“Focusing on youth is vital, because half of the people newly infected with HIV in the United States are younger than 25,” Gov. Ryan said. “All young people are urged to increase their awareness of the risks of HIV/AIDS and to encourage their families and friends to do the same so that we can stem the tide of HIV and AIDS.”
In Illinois, there have been 1,299 reported cases of AIDS in people younger than 25 since 1981 and of those diagnosed with the disease, 676 have died.
The Capitol dome and holiday lights will be dimmed from 5:45 p.m. to 6 p.m., as will lights at the Illinois Department of Public Health headquarters in Springfield (525-535 W. Jefferson St.) and in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center (100 W. Randolph St.) and the State of Illinois Building (160 N. LaSalle St.). The White House and public and private buildings throughout the nation also will dim lights Saturday evening.
First observed on Dec. 1, 1988, World AIDS Day is held annually and serves to strengthen global efforts to address the challenges of the AIDS pandemic, which continues to spread throughout every region of the world.
The toll-free Illinois AIDS/HIV and STD Hotline is available to answer questions about HIV/AIDS and to provide locations of free counseling and testing services. The hotline can be reached at 1-800-243-2437 or TTY 1-800-782-0423 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekends.