World AIDS Day – Universal Access and Human Rights Illinois ranks 8th in the nation for HIV/AIDS Cases

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Started on December 1, 1988, World AIDS Day is an important reminder that HIV has not gone away and there is still work to be done.  The World AIDS Day theme for 2010 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’ and is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice, improving education and stopping the spread of HIV.

As of September 2010, there were 32,923 (15,163 HIV; 17,760 AIDS) people reported as living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois. The number of cases in Illinois is the eighth highest in the U.S. Youth, men who have sex with men (MSM) and African Americans are the most at risk populations for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in the state.

In Illinois, men accounted for 76 percent of all new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS between 2000-2009. During that same time, MSM accounted for 71 percent of all infections among men who reported an HIV risk factor. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working closely with organizations that serve men who have sex with men to provide prevention education, screening and partner services in an effort to reduce the high rates of HIV affecting this population.

Women accounted for 24 percent of all new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS in Illinois between 2000-2009. This percent has increased over the years. Of the 24 percent, high-risk heterosexual activity accounted for 65 percent of all infections among women for whom a risk factor was reported.

African Americans accounted for 53 percent of all new diagnoses of HIV between 2000-2009, although they represent only 15 percent of the population in the state. The rate of HIV among African Americans in 2009 was 10 times higher than among Caucasians. Reducing high infection rates among racial and ethnic groups has been a major initiative of the Department for the past several years, but despite progress in a number of areas, HIV infections continue to disproportionately affect African Americans.

Between 2000-2009, people ages 13-19 at time of diagnosis accounted for four percent of new HIV/AIDS infections in Illinois. The number of new infections

among teenagers continues to grow. According to the latest U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, 47 percent of high school students reported having had sex and 7.4 percent reported sexual intercourse before age 13.

“World AIDS Day is a great opportunity for people to learn what they need to do to avoid becoming infected,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director. “Know your status, get tested and get your friends tested during World AIDS Day.”

To help make testing easier, the Illinois Department of Public Health Center for Minority Health Services launched the HIV/AIDS Testing Center Locator Text 2 Survive, available in both English and Spanish. Using a mobile phone, any Illinoisan can send a text with the message “IL” for English, or “centro” for Spanish, plus their five digit zip code to the phone number 36363. That person will instantly receive a confidential text message back to their phone with the nearest HIV/AIDS testing center contact information. To help spread the benefits of getting tested, that person can then send their friends a text message urging them to get tested as well.

For more information log onto or call HIV/AIDS-STD hotline at 1-800-243-2437