Illinois: Governor Signs Bill to Create Fund for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment Services Aimed at Blacks
May 24, 2006
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) on Saturday signed into law a bill (SB 1001) that will create a fund to address the disproportionate affect of HIV/AIDS on the state's black residents, the Chicago Sun-Times reports (Chicago Sun-Times, 5/21). The recently approved state budget authorizes $3 million for the Illinois African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund. According to a Blagojevich release, the law will require the state Department of Public Health to develop a "comprehensive, culturally sensitive" HIV prevention program targeting "high-risk" black communities; establish at least 17 "one-stop" HIV/AIDS service facilities in the state; and establish HIV/AIDS service structures that "meet the needs" of blacks. "Last year we were able to pass legislation to provide free testing in state offices serving high-risk communities," state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D),co-sponsor of the bill said, adding, "This year, we were able to obtain more funding for the HIV/AIDS crisis that is disproportionately affecting our community." Blagojevich last year launched the Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS program, which has distributed more than $3 million in grants for HIV/AIDS awareness programs (Blagojevich release, 5/20). Lloyd Kelly, executive director of the Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation, said the law will allow blacks to find HIV/AIDS testing and treatment services in their communities, adding, "It flips the script on how we deal with the disease in our communities" (Patterson, Chicago Defender, 5/22). The Heart of Illinois HIV/AIDS Center in Peoria, Ill., said the majority of the funding will go to groups in Chicago and other cities with large black communities rather than groups in central Illinois unless there are special circumstances, HOI-19 reports (Carollo, HOI-19, 5/22).
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