May 20, 2013 (CHICAGO) According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, there are more than 22,000 people living with HIV; over half of these cases have not progressed to AIDS. However, with an increase in awareness, more HIV diagnoses are made each year and fewer people die as a result of getting tested to know their status. The Chicagoland National HIV Testing Collaborative is launching a new campaign Step Up, Get Tested setting a goal to test 500 people on one day. To mark the beginning of the campaign on Wednesday, June 5th free and confidential HIV testing will be offered in the heart of the Chicago Loop at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. from 10 a.m. - 4p.m. Volunteers from local non-profit organizations will be on-site to provide hundreds of free, painless and rapid HIV tests. The Step Up, Get Tested campaign will extend until the 4th of July weekend hosting over 100 free HIV/ hepatitis-C testing events throughout Chicagolandincluding Lake County.
"Testing makes a difference because knowing your status makes a difference," said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. "We are working with partners like the Chicagoland National HIV Testing Day Collaborative to reach the estimated 6,000 Chicagoans who are HIV-positive and unaware of their status, so they can be linked to care and receive treatment necessary to living a long, healthy life while decreasing the chances of transmission to others."
Since 2001, over 1000 new HIV diagnoses have been made each year in the Chicago-area, surpassing the number of AIDS diagnoses. While the overall number of infections has declined by almost 20 percent, HIV continues to be one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States.
Today HIV testing has progressed to become a lot less invasive making it easier for people to learn their status, states Anthony Galloway, chairperson of the Chicagoland National HIV Testing Collaborative. "With products such as Clearview, OraQuick, and Insti rapid HIV tests we are able to provide a free, easy, and quick experience. We encourage Chicago-area residents to step up and get tested."
The OraQuick HIV test will be used during the testing event at the Thompson Center. All of the HIV testing diagnostics described before are safe, effective and approved by the FDA. For the testing event on June 5th, certified HIV screeners will gently swab a specimen collection pad along an individual gums to collect oral fluids then the swab is inserted inside a developer solution, providing the results in just 20 minutes. Counseling will be provided for those with preliminary positive results.
Orasure Technologies, Walgreens, Wet Lubricants, and the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health are among an array of sponsors for this month long testing push. For more information, please visit www.stepupgettested.com .
About Step Up, Get Tested Campaign
Step Up, Get Tested is a citywide unified effort that brings AIDS service and community-based organizations together to scale up HIV testing in the most underserved communities of Chicago. As a part of National HIV Testing Day (June 27), the Chicagoland National HIV Testing Collaborative hosted a series of testing events throughout the city and offered free rapid HIV testing services, prevention education, and other resources. For more information visit www.stepupgettested.com .
City of Chicago Clinic @ 2045 W. Washington Wednesday June 12th 10am-2pm
City of Chicago Clinic @ 4747 W. Cermak Wednesday June 12th 10am-2pm
City of Chicago Clinic @ 7171 S. Jeffrey Wednesday June 12th 10am-2pm
Cornerstone Community Center in Uptown Wednesday June 19th 9am-1:30pm
Intersection of Pulaski and Lake (Green Line CTA) Friday June 14th 10am-2pm
Intersection of 47th and King Drive (Green Line CTA) Friday June 21st 10am-2pm
C4 @ 5710 North Broadway 3rd floor Drop-In Center Friday June 21st 11am-2pm
Information on the ticket:
The $2 Spread the Word instant ticket and offers top prizes of $20,000.
As part of its mission to raise funds for worthy causes, including programs that provide HIV prevention, raise awareness and deliver support services to Illinoisans living with the disease, the Illinois Lottery is continuing its partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health to launch a new Spread the Word instant ticket. This game is expected to raise $1 million for the cause. Spread the Word profits fund HIV/AIDS prevention education and grants to public and private organizations that serve the highest at-risk groups for contracting HIV or developing AIDS. Since 2008, this ticket, the only Lottery ticket of its kind nationally, has contributed over $4.7 million to the fight against HIV/AIDS.