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State Public Health Director Urges Illinoisans to Get Tested on National HIV Testing Day

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.–(ENEWSPF)–June 27, 2011.  As we observe the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) first report of AIDS-like disease, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is urging Illinoisans today to get tested and learn their HIV status on National HIV Testing Day, held every June 27.

“On the 30th anniversary of the awareness of the disease, it remains critically important for people to get tested, know their HIV status and be knowledgeable about their lives and health,” Dr. Arnold said. “In Illinois we have partnered with many organizations to make HIV testing free and accessible – I encourage everyone to get tested today.”

The CDC estimates that about 1 in 5 of the 1.3 million Americans living with HIV are unaware that they are infected. In Illinois, the first case of AIDS was reported to the IDPH in July 1981 and eight cases had been reported by the end of that year. From July 1981 through December 2009, 53,380 cases of HIV infection were reported in Illinois, of which 32,923 were also diagnosed with AIDS.

Illinois has the seventh highest number of AIDS cases in the nation. Of the total HIV/AIDS cases reported through December 2009:

  • 80 percent are male
  • 50 percent Black; 34 percent White; 13 percent Hispanic
  • 38 percent were diagnosed between the ages of 30-38

Among men, the major risk factor for HIV infection remains men who have sex with men (67 percent), followed by injection drug use (19 percent). Among women, the major risk factor for HIV infection is heterosexual contact (53 percent), followed by injection drug use (43 percent).

To help reduce these numbers, IDPH has sponsored or co-sponsored numerous events providing free and accessible HIV testing statewide throughout the month of June in support of National HIV Testing Day. Additionally, the IDPH Center for Minority Health in conjunction with Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS (BASUAH), is airing public service announcements on Comcast from June 24-June 30 in the Central Illinois communities of Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Jacksonville, Peoria and Springfield encouraging HIV testing.

To find free HIV testing sites in your area use Text2Survive and text EVENT to 36363; or text IL plus your zip code to 36363 for an HIV and STD testing center near you; or ALERT to 36363 to receive HIV and other important health updates.

Illinois HIV/AIDS Timeline


First Illinois case of Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) diagnosed.

July 1981

First Illinois AIDS case (African-American male who had sex with men) entered into the communicable disease reporting system.  Eight cases reported to IDPH by the end of the year.
September 1981

IDPH memo sent to local health departments alerting them to rare conditions in previously healthy homosexual men and asked them to report such cases to IDPH.


Reporting of AIDS to local health authorities mandated.


  • IDPH conducted educational seminars across the state to 4,000 health providers.
  • IDPH established toll-free AIDS Hotline.
  • IDPH pamphlets and posters on HIV/AIDS available.
  • HIV antibody test (venous blood) became available. First testing site established in Marion, Illinois.


  • AIDS Confidentiality Act signed into law establishing strict confidentiality requirements for HIV testing.
  • AIDS Registry dedicated to HIV/AIDS surveillance established.


  • January 1 – AIDS Drug Reimbursement Act (ADRA) initiated with a federal grant of $783,000.
  • Pre-marital HIV testing was enacted.


Pre-marital HIV testing was repealed.

Congress authorized Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act. Funding used to establish the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) the HIV Care Consortia and the Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage (CHIC) program.

Rapid HIV antibody testing implemented at IDPH-funded counseling and testing sites.

Illinois Prevention Community Planning Group (PCPG) established.

Regional HIV Prevention Lead Agencies established.

First drop in new AIDS cases in Illinois reported.

Off-site, outreach testing established in communities to reach people most at risk.

IDPH proposed name-based reporting of HIV infection.

  • Perinatal HIV rapid testing in labor and delivery units in Illinois began.
  • Illinois HIV/AIDS Inter-Agency Taskforce assembled – multiple state, regional and local agency partners.
  • IDPH partners with Illinois Department of Correction to begin HIV prevention education for inmates.


BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) program launched.


Name-based HIV infection reporting began in Illinois.


BASUAH in Second Life created.


HIV/AIDS testing center locator initiative, Text 2 Survive launched. 

Source: idph.state.il.us

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