Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) and Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7th) will focus on National African American HIV Awareness Day at a press conference in an effort to pass Senate Bill 2971, which extends the sunset date for the Quality of Life Fund’s “Red Ribbon Cash” lottery ticket expiring December 31, 2012.  This new legislation extends the ticket sunset date to December 31, 2017. 

Enacted in 2007, the Quality of Life Fund’s Red Ribbon Cash lottery ticket funds HIV/AIDS prevention and care services for populations disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.  One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to organizations across the state of Illinois that provide services to those impacted. “Funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs is vitally important given the increasing prevalence and devastating nature of this disease in our communities,” said Collins, who sponsored the original legislation creating the ticket and is also sponsoring the extension.

The Quality of Life Fund is a self-generating revenue fund based on sales.  Last year the Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off game generated $1.4 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and care.  This year the lottery ticket will fund 14 community based organizations across the state.

“It is estimated that 46,000 Illinoisans are living with HIV/AIDS in the State of Illinois, and that every 9 and a half minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV,” said Representative Yarbrough, who is sponsoring the bill in the House.

Rep. Thaddeus Jones will also be sponsoring a resolution in the House that will commemorate National African American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and urge African Americans in Illinois to get educated, tested, and treated. An estimated 60,000 Illinoisans are living with HIV, and 55 percent of reported HIV diagnoses are among African Americans.

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