AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) held a World AIDS Day breakfast event Nov. 30 at AFC headquarters in the Loop.
Community leaders joined AFC's Community Organizing Manager Coleman Goode to discuss future legislative priorities.
Goode explained that AFC's legislative agenda and policy priorities for 2019 and 2020 will be driven by the results of a survey that was sent out to about 4,000 people via email and at events over the past five months and what was gleaned from this and future events.
The survey included questions repealing and/or modernizing Illinois' HIV criminalization laws, health insurance prescription drug co-pay cards and out of pocket costs, protecting ACA provisions for people living with HIV, the Getting to Zero plan, housing availability for those in financial need, increased medical access and treatment for hepatitis C in the state Medicaid program, ensuring Illinois' Medicaid program works for people living with HIV and full and adequate funding in the state budget for these issues. Also included in the survey is a request to get involved with AFC's advocacy networkthe Illinois for Sound AIDS Policy.
Among the attendees' most important concerns were state funding, housing and advocacy outreach. They said reaching out to diverse communities throughout Chicago in their neighborhoods is a key component for understanding those communities' concerns.
One attendee said speaking the language of the community AFC plans on visiting is important and that includes translating written documents into languages other than English.
"We want to make sure what we have gotten on a legislative level does not go away and work on expanding those policies moving forward," said Goode.
The discussion also addressed ways to make the survey more accessible to a wider demographic of Chicagoans including sending text messages and having it available at the summer festivals and Pride events to fill out either on paper or electronically.