SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) stood with Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck, Congressman Danny Davis, Illinois Lottery Superintendent Victor Golden and representatives of the South Side and Westside HIV/AIDS Regional Planning Councils to observe World AIDS Day and congratulate 16 organizations receiving grants for HIV/AIDS education and services.

Proceeds from the Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off lottery game funded the $2.1 million in Quality of Life grants. Sen. Collins sponsored legislation creating the game in 2007 and extending it for another five years in 2012.

"I support this dedicated revenue stream because we desperately need to educate, advocate, break down barriers and empower everyone with HIV or AIDS to experience a better quality of life," Sen. Collins said. "Recent state budgets have cut critical safety nets, but I'm committed to funding the fight against AIDS through innovative approaches such as Red Ribbon Cash."

The 16 agencies and non-profit organizations receiving grants this year represent diverse areas of the state, serve different high-risk populations and engage in a wide variety of activities. Seven organizations have budgets under $300,000. The Department of Public Health monitors the use of the grants to ensure maximum impact in the effort to end HIV/AIDS in Illinois.

"Too many still see this as a disease affecting gay white men, but AIDS knows no boundaries," Sen. Collins said. "Red Ribbon Cash equips a movement to serve all Illinoisans living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of infection – black, white, Latino, Asian, male and female, gay and straight. I am confident we are working toward the day when we will read about AIDS in history books instead of newspapers."

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Chicago, IL 60620
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