August 21, 2013
Illinois HIV Care Connect, a statewide network providing HIV support services, will expand its social media involvement to increase awareness of its offerings. The network, a program of the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA), provides free case management services and health services to people with HIV/AIDS. "This effort is all about extending HIV prevention and treatment across Illinois," said Tom Hughes, IPHA executive director. "By preventing HIV and helping those living with HIV find early and ongoing treatment, we can improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs."
The network launched an English-language Web site in 2009 and introduced a Spanish-language Web site earlier this year. Now, Illinois HIV Care Connect is adding English-language Twitter feed, Facebook pages, and Google+ pages. Illinois has approximately 36,000 HIV-infected residents. According to CDC, approximately 20 percent of new US infections comprise Hispanics, while the largest number of new infections comprises people between ages 20-34. Because social media is popular with young people, Illinois HIV Care Connect is focused on reaching out to these two target groups. Additionally, the network soon will launch both English and Spanish mobile versions of its Web site.
The Illinois HIV Care Connect Web site receives more than 800 monthly hits, making it a valuable source of information for HIV-infected people and their healthcare providers. The program also manages and provides information about the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program, Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage program, and other services.