Rockford, Ill. — Surrounded by health care providers and HIV prevention advocates at the Winnebago County Health Department, Governor JB Pritzker took executive action strengthening the state’s commitment to ending the HIV epidemic that has affected nearly 40,000 Illinois residents.
“While 1,375 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2017 alone and unacceptable health disparities in communities of color continue, over the past few years we’ve seen HIV prevention funding dry up, HIV testing rates go down, and HIV prevention and treatment agencies lay off staff,” said Governor JB Pritzker.“Now is not the time to back down from this fight. Now is the time to double down. This executive order defines the state’s commitment to the HIV epidemic and serves as a first step in ensuring the state is good partner in this fight.”
Over the last four years, the State of Illinois failed to partner fully with organizations and advocates that are working to end the HIV epidemic. When there was no state budget, HIV prevention and care agencies across the state laid off staff. This lack of investment came a time when health disparities in HIV are increasing.
With today’s executive order, the state will change course and take advantage of opportunities to improve treatment. With Medicaid providing health insurance for 23,748 Illinoisans living with HIV in FY17, the state-run program is the largest payer for HIV care in the state and a vital partner in ending the HIV epidemic.