Blog

Blog

Through performance art, new narratives emerge about chronic illness

September 3, 2014

After being diagnosed as HIV-positive two years ago, Chicago-based performance artist, multimedia producer, documentarian and teacher Joe Varisco felt an absence: Where are the narratives around HIV that reflected his story, the story and experiences of his communities and their lives? In the months after his diagnosis, he immersed himself in media representations that told the story...
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Gaining a holistic understanding of HIV to help protect vulnerable communities

August 29, 2014

The best way so solve a problem is to know it from all angles. That’s why Alan Johnson, Linkage to Care Coordinator at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, enrolled in the African American HIV University Science and Treatment College , a year-long research and training program that examines HIV/AIDS from every angle. Sponsored by the Black AIDS Institute and the University of California,...
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"You're not a second-class citizen because you're HIV-positive. You're a human being."

August 21, 2014

HIV — it’s not just a problem in large metropolitan areas. In fact, about one-third of the HIV/AIDS cases in Illinois are among people living outside of Chicago. That’s why places like Open Door Clinic are needed — to serve people living with and at increased vulnerability for HIV in places like Aurora and Elgin. Sacha Urban, a passionate HIV/AIDS advocate and longtime...
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Kicking stigma to the curb through AIDS Run & Walk Chicago

July 11, 2014

How do you overcome stigma — the dark shadow over an idea or thing that makes people jump to drastic conclusions? For Brad Setter, it’s all about awareness — bringing the thing that’s so stigmatized into the public light to get rid of the shadow. Setter, a 24-year-old student at College of DuPage, knows a thing or two about stigma. He served in the US Marine Corps from...
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What can internet search engines reveal about STD trends and risk?

July 1, 2014

In an invited talk at the 2014 STD Prevention Conference , the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Director of Research, Evaluation and Data Services, Amy Johnson, along with UIC Associate Professor Supriya Mehta, discussed the application of search engine data to sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance. Highlighting their current study published in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases...
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Better red (or green or yellow or grape-flavored) than dead

June 25, 2014

Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute, took Illinois to task by calling out its $1 million budget for condoms and lubricant. Every new HIV case costs an estimated $390,000 in lifetime medical costs, much of which is paid for by the state. HIV cases are rising fastest among young gay and bisexual men (and particularly young African Americans and...
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Ten years after HIV-positive diagnosis, AIDS Run & Walk marks a new chapter in one runner's life

June 16, 2014

So much can change in ten years — in world history, in fashion trends and in the way someone manages his relationship with HIV/AIDS. Ten years ago, Armando Ramirez received some upsetting news: he was HIV-positive. For three years before that, he had been on his own, rejected by his family after Ramirez told them he is gay. Ramirez, now 34 years old and living in...
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HIV testing project serves people where they are, when they're there

June 6, 2014

On a late night at the corner of 47th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, anything can happen. If this popular hangout spot for gay, transgender, and homeless folks on Chicago's South Side could talk, it would have a lot to say. And I wanted to get in on that conversation. As the prevention program manager for AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), it's my job to know who in Chicago needs...
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Getting on board with PrEP: "It all starts with making one choice"

May 28, 2014

Curtis Lewis is just like many 22-year-olds: he is a student at Purdue University-Calumet in Hammond, IN. And when he’s not studying, he’s also an actor: he will be featured in Gary Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet as Romeo this summer. Lewis is also a sexually active gay male, and he’s taking preventive measures to keep himself HIV-negative. Curtis...
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An advocacy update from a peer educator

May 12, 2014

On April 9, three clients and I, an Open Door Clinic staff member, joined the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy (IL ASAP) and over 100 other advocates as we converged on Springfield to advocate for issues that impact to the HIV/AIDS community. Our biggest push was for the continued funding of HIV/AIDS services. When Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed his budget for next year, he maintained...
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