Gov. Pritzker Boosts HIV Prevention Funding With Executive Order
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order Friday in Rockford boosting state resources to fight the HIV epidemic.
The executive order replenishes lapsed funding for HIV testing.
“Instead of taking action over the past few years, we’ve seen prevention funding dry up," said Pritzker.
It will also increase funding for PrEP, the daily pill that can be used by those most vulnerable to prevent the infection.
"HIV testing rates have gone down and HIV prevention and treatment agencies lay off staff. Now is not the time to back down on this fight, the time is to double-down on this fight,” Pritzker said.
Eduardo Alvarado is the HIV/AIDS director at the Illinois Department of Public Health. He says the state is linking PrEP to clinical exams and screenings for sexually transmitted infections.
"PrEP is an entry point into a healthcare system for a lot of individuals who have never had access to healthcare," said Alvarado.
The executive order also asks several state agencies, like the Department of Public Health, to file a report outlining a plan to share “viral load” data with the state. This will give Illinois more information to help treat people who already live with HIV.
John Peller is the CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
“And I will tell you, we have heard more times in the past three weeks from this new administration than we did from a previous one in four years," said Peller.
Nearly 40,000 people currently live with HIV in Illinois and, of those, nearly half are African-American.
There were over 1,300 new cases in 2017.