Doctors and nurses specializing in the treatment of HIV/AIDS hosted an HIV expo Sept. 11 on the city's South Side at the Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center. The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care ( IAPAC ) and the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care ( ANAC ) sponsored the six-hour event in an effort to highlight the disease's impact on the area's Black community.
Michelle Agnoli of ANAC told Windy City Times that her group, in conjunction with IAPAC, wanted to offer the expo at a location other than someplace like Boystown to bring service providers to the community hardest hit by the disease. "HIV is still a problem," Agnoli said. "Almost 50 percent of the epidemic is focused in the African-American community. The South Side has been hit hard by the disease and this is for all of our communities, not the just gay community. The emphasis is to know your status," she added.
The expo was funded through an education grant from the drug maker Merck and featured a dozen or so vendors, representing area service providers like the Christian Community Health Center and the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. The CORE Center's Greg Huhn presented information about persons co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV and stressed that while HIV still baffles drug researchers, cures now exist for hepatitis C. Huhn told Windy City Times that the purpose for the expo, in part, was to help beat back the stigma that remains in certain communities about having HIV and recognizing those that have the disease.