Proceeds will benefit organizations fighting HIV/AIDS among high-risk group

CHICAGO, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) stood Tuesday with Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones, Department of Public Health representatives and a diverse group of individuals engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS to announce the launch of a newly redesigned “Red Ribbon Cash” lottery ticket that will fund HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness and support services.

 “As a legislator, I consider HIV/AIDS to be one of the most morally compelling issues of our time,” said Sen. Collins, who in 2007 sponsored legislation creating the HIV/AIDS lottery program and this year led the effort to reauthorize the game – the only one of its kind in the nation – for another five years. “The devastating effect this disease has had in our communities – particularly among poor and minority populations – cannot be ignored. Silence is suicide.”

 

 

Sales of “Red Ribbon Cash” tickets have already raised $4 million in the past four years for organizations like Project Vida, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Emmaus Ministries and the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. Recipient groups are located not only in Chicago but throughout the state and focus on reaching at-risk populations with services such as free and anonymous testing, educational materials, counseling, medical services and housing.

 

The new instant-win scratch-off tickets launched today cost $3 each and give players a chance to win prizes up to $40,000. The game is expected to raise an additional $1 million for the cause, with 100 percent of the profits going to grant recipients chosen by the Illinois Department of Public Health. At today’s press conference, Sen. Collins thanked her colleague in the House, Representative Karen Yarbrough, for partnering with her to keep “Red Ribbon Cash” alive and also recognized advocates Ben Montgomery, Michael O’Connor and Mar Loveless.

 

“With every budget, we see funding for human services – including the fight against AIDS – slashed, so it is essential to design and support innovative ways to keep the resources flowing to those on the front lines of this battle,” Sen. Collins said. “African-Americans make up 14.5 percent of Illinois’ population but in 2009 constituted 53.4 percent of new AIDS diagnoses. We absolutely must get a handle on this disease, giving as many people as possible the knowledge to prevent its spread and the tools to live long and fulfilling lives even after learning they are HIV-positive.”

 

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