“Step Up, Get Tested” event also unveils new Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off ticket

Red Ribbon Cash and testing dayCHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th), was present at last week’s unveiling of the new Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off lottery ticket, which supports HIV/AIDS services, and observed National HIV Testing Day by reminding Illinoisans that while new diagnoses have increased among at-risk, predominantly minority populations, there is hope for those who know their status and take control of their health.

“While our efforts to prevent the spread of HIV have resulted in dramatic declines in new infections since the epidemic’s peak, rates remain unacceptably high among young, Black, gay and bisexual men,” Collins said. “On National HIV Testing Day and throughout the summer, we are working with our valued community partners to make sure all Chicagoans — especially members of at-risk populations — have access to testing, services and hope.”

Nationally, newly diagnosed cases of HIV among men with male sex partners dropped from 75,000 per year in the mid-1980s to only 18,000 in the early 1990s but have now risen to 30,000 annually. Chicago saw a 76 percent increase in new infections among gay men younger than 30 between 2000 and 2011, and African American men accounted for most of the jump. Chicago will be the site of a new five-year study, conducted by Northwestern University and funded through a National Institutes of Health grant, of the reasons behind this disturbing trend.

“The Quality of Life program and the Red Ribbon Cash ticket have generated a vital stream of revenue for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and services during a time when state public health funding has been scarce and the struggle against HIV, particularly in communities of color, is often ignored,” Collins said. “I want to personally urge anyone who may be at risk to step up and get tested, and I also urge all our city and state leaders to step up, spread the word and fund the fight.”

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Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

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(217) 782-1607

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