June 10, 2013
On June 5, the Illinois Lottery unveiled "Spread the Word," the only U.S. lottery game in which all net profits go directly to fund HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Developed in collaboration with Illinois-based HIV/AIDS organizations and the Illinois Department of Health, Spread the Word is expected to add $1 million to HIV/AIDS efforts. The Illinois Lottery has given more than $4.7 million to HIV/AIDS initiatives since 2008. The Illinois Department of Public Health will be responsible for administering grants from funds resulting from the Spread the Word game.
According to Michael Jones, superintendent of the Illinois Lottery, Spread the Word aligned with the purpose of lotteries, which was to fund "important causes" like public schools, roads and bridges, and issues selected by the Illinois legislature, including multiple sclerosis research, veterans' programs, and breast cancer research. Purchase of a $2 Spread the Word ticket conferred the chance to win $20,000. Currently, 8,100 Illinois retail outlets offer the game to customers.
The Spread the Word launch coincided with the Chicago National HIV Testing Collaborative's month-long "Step Up, Get Tested" campaign. In support of both the game and the campaign, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck urged Illinois residents to take advantage of HIV testing resources, many of which are "free and confidential." HIV prevalence in Chicago was three times the overall U.S. rate, and IDPH reported 1,760 new cases of HIV/AIDS in Illinois in 2011.
Individuals may obtain information on Step Up, Get Tested at www.stepupgettested.com.
Individuals may call the Illinois AIDS/HIV & STD Hotline at 1-800-243-2437 or TTY 1-800-782-0423 for free, confidential information about HIV/AIDS.
Individuals may text "IL" plus their ZIP code to 36363 to learn the location of free HIV testing. Spanish speakers may text "CENTRO" plus their ZIP code to 36363.