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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich proclaims World AIDS Day in Illinois; Illinois marks the national observance by dimming lights at Capitol and other state government buildings
Governor urges Congress to reauthorize and increase federal appropriations for the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act; IDPH sponsors more than 20 HIV/AIDS testing and awareness events across the state

SPRINGFIELD – Continuing his efforts to address the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed World AIDS Day in Illinois and urged Congress to reauthorize and increase federal appropriations for the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act - the nation’s largest source of federal funding for HIV/AIDS-related services.  Illinois also paid tribute to those impacted by HIV/AIDS by dimming lights at the Capitol dome and other state government buildings to coincide with the dimming of lights at the White House.  World AIDS Day 2005, themed “Stop AIDS. Keep the promise,” urges individuals to hold government leaders and policymakers accountable for their pledges and promises of funding for HIV and AIDS education and prevention.
 
“As young people continue to be infected with HIV and AIDS at an alarming rate, it is critical that we redouble our efforts to promote education, prevention, and testing,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Here in Illinois, we have kept our promise to invest in HIV/AIDS prevention and services, but without federal support for the Ryan White Act, we cannot adequately fight the spread of this epidemic.  Now is the time for Congress to reaffirm their commitment to ending this devastating disease.”
 
The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act expired on September 30, 2005, but legislation has not been introduced to reauthorize the program.
 
The CARE Act is the nation's largest and most important source of discretionary federal funding for HIV/AIDS-related services.  Illinois communities rely on more than $70 million in federal CARE Act funding annually to provide essential medical and supportive services to low-income and under- or uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS.  In a letter to members of Congress, the governor urged the reauthorization of federal appropriations for the (CARE) Act.
 
Since taking office, Gov. Blagojevich has been a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  This year, the governor launched the BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) Project: a comprehensive, $2.5 million HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to address the alarming trend of infection among the state’s African-American community. The BASUAH project includes public service announcements, posters, transit ads, printed materials, and partnerships with media outlets, churches and their youth ministries, colleges and organizations.
 
The Governor also boosted spending for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) by $3 million to a total of $36 million to allow more people with HIV or AIDS who meet eligibility requirements to be served and to increase the number of life saving medicines from 74 to 80.  ADAP, considered one of the best drug assistance programs in the country, provides prescriptions to 3,200 persons a month.  This year the governor also filed emergency rules to implement HIV/AIDS rapid testing statewide.  The emergency rules are effective for 150 days, starting on September 14, 2005. The Department will file for adoption after that time period.
 
In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health has allotted $250,000 to help fund the HIV/AIDS Policy and Research Institute at Chicago State University.  The institute, which Gov. Blagojevich helped implement with a $350,000 grant in fiscal year 2004, is conducting research on why the African-American population is so disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS and ways to affect behavioral change.
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health will also hold more than 20 HIV/AIDS testing and awareness events today across the state.  A World AIDS Day observance in Springfield sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda, where community based and health care organizations will provide exhibits with HIV/AIDS information and the Phoenix Center will provide free HIV testing.  In Chicago, the “Wellness on Wheels” van will provide free HIV testing at Dominicks Grocery Store on West Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
 
“The HIV/AIDS trends in Illinois are similar to the numbers seen throughout the country,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  “AIDS numbers are declining due to better medical therapies that can hold off the progression from HIV to AIDS for years.  HIV numbers are rising because people continue to engage in behaviors that place them at risk of HIV infection – multiple sex partners, not using a condom and sharing needles to inject drugs.”
 
In Illinois, there have been 30,394 reported cases of AIDS since 1981.  Illinois has the sixth highest total of AIDS cases in the nation.
 

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.  Information about HIV/AIDS is also available at www.basuah.org

 
The Department of Public Health sponsored events on December 1st are:
 

Greater Westside Development Corporation
Working for Togetherness
Dominick's Grocery Store
3240 W. Roosevelt Rd
Chicago
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
 
Asian Human Services
Christian Community Health Center
Sankofa Safe Child Initiative
Chicago Cultural Center
77 E Randolph, Sydney Yates Gallery, 4th Flr
Chicago
3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
 
Beloved Community Family Services
Englewood High School
6201 S. Stewart
Chicago
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
 
The Women's Treatment Center
140 N. Ashland Ave
Chicago
Noon - 1 p.m.
 
Hektoen Institute for Medical Services
2100 W. Harrison Str.
Chicago
Noon - 1 p.m.
 
Habilitative Systems, Inc.
415 S. Kilpatrick
Chicago
4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
 
LePenseur Youth & Family Services, Inc.
8550 S. Manistee Avenue
Chicago
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
 
South East Alcohol & Drug Abuse Center
8640 S. South Chicago Ave
Chicago
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
 
Christian Community Health Center
9718 S. Halsted
Chicago
10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
 
Regional CARE
Brown Chapel AME Church
1502 Mills Road
Joliet
6 p.m.
 
Regional Education and Advocacy Coalition on HIV/AIDS
East St. Louis City Hall
301 River Park Drive
East St. Louis
6 p.m. - 8 p.m
 
Beloved Community Family Services
Englewood High School
6201 S. Stewart
Chicago
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
 
Christian Community Health Center
Fairmount Chicago
200 N. Columbus
Chicago
4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
 
Working for Togetherness
George's Music Room
3915 W. Roosevelt
Chicago
8 a.m.
 
 
Working for Togetherness
Jericho Circle Housing Development
1451 Jericho Circle
Aurora
1 p.m.
 
Greater Westside Development Corporation
John Marshall High School
3250 W. Adams Street
Chicago
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
 
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Main Street Church of the Living God
2000 N. Main Street
Decatur
5 p.m. - 8 p.m
 

Puerto Rican Cultural Center/Vida Sida
West Town Community Clinic
Western & Division St.
Chicago
6 p.m.
 
Greater Westside Development Corporation
WGCI -FM radio station
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
 
World AIDS Day Health Expo
113 Custer
Evanston
10:00 am - 6:30 pm
 
World AIDS Day Health Expo
Oakton College
Des Plaines
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
 
Jo-Ray House Breakfast
23 W. 115th Street
Chicago
8 am – 10:30 am


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