More than 120 people -- many wearing T-shirts with the slogan "Mission: Possible", took part in the eighth annual HIV/AIDS Lobby Days on April 2 at the Illinois state capitol.Advertisement
The activists appealed to the state Legislature to enact more sound policies regarding HIV/AIDS. They were joined at the rally by several state lawmakers, including Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria) and Reps. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), and Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago).
"We had lots of positive legislator engagement" around three issues, reported event organizer Jim Merrell of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). Those issues were expanding medical assistance for low-income Illinois residents; securing a $2 million appropriation to encourage voluntary HIV testing as part of routine medical care; and removing barriers to the distribution of a drug that can save the lives of drug injectors by counteracting opiate overdoses.
"I do feel it was a success because the presence of the people was there," said Juliet Jones, a speaker at the rally. "Definitely, our voices were heard."
AFC's Johnathon Briggs noted that about 60 percent of the advocates who attended were taking part in HIV/AIDS Lobby Days for the first time. The lobbying was preceded by a training session attended by 75 people.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.