News

News: Advocacy

Advocacy organizations celebrate results as UnitedHealthcare swiftly reverses discriminatory PrEP practices

August 8, 2017

Fourteen health and social justice organizations from across the U.S. wish to celebrate the people-powered effort behind UnitedHealthcare responding so swiftly to demands that they improve access to the HIV drug Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medical intervention that prevents HIV infection. On Friday, Aug. 4, UnitedHealthcare received a joint letter from this coalition objecting...
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Trump's shadow lingers over affordable health care

July 26, 2017

AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) strongly condemns the actions taken by a majority of Senate Republicans’ vote to advance a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has provided access to comprehensive health care coverage for nearly 24 million Americans. If signed into law by President Trump without a proper replacement, over 1.2 million Illinoisans would lose their...
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HIV, hepatitis C and the hope for health equity

July 25, 2017

by Ashley Brown   Peter McLoyd doesn’t care what you think of him. From addiction to advocacy, his story has been defined by overcoming obstacles. From substance abuse to stigma to health inequity, McLoyd has seen it all. At 64, his long and winding road has led him to his current role as the Consumer Development and Advocacy Coordinator at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center...
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After three-year stalemate, Illinois legislature increases revenue and passes state budget

July 6, 2017

The Illinois budget impasse has finally come to an end.  Over the July 4th holiday weekend, the Illinois General Assembly passed bipartisan legislation for a full Fiscal Year (FY) 18 budget that supports health equity across the state. Legislators also passed a revenue bill (which increases the Illinois income tax from 3.75% to 4.95%) to actually fund that budget. The AIDS...
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Ending gun violence means recognizing it as a public health threat

June 12, 2017

One year ago today, the Pulse nightclub shooting brought immense grief to our nation and reminded us about the havoc guns can reap on America’s most vulnerable communities. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) was deeply saddened by the death of 49 members of the broader LGBTQ and Latinx community. We were also deeply moved to  end  gun violence in Chicago and across...
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Living with HIV — and without stable health insurance

June 8, 2017

By Anthony Millspaugh "Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant...." So begins the achingly poignant memoir The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, an exploration of love and loss, grief and resilience. In October 2005, it was the book I was reading when I received a call from a specialist who had recently conducted a procedure ordered by my doctor; the news...
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AFC secures legislative wins despite budget impasse

June 1, 2017

As the Illinois spring legislative session ends, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) celebrates its legislative accomplishments, despite enduring a third year without passage of a state budget. Illinois has now gone 700 days and counting without passing a positive, people-first budget . As the state moves into another year without a responsible economic plan in place, the most vulnerable members...
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From past to present: HIV advocates leading the future at AFC's Advocacy Days

May 30, 2017

by Ashley Brown Before the first morning light had struck Chicago’s streets, almost 100 HIV advocates from various backgrounds came together on May 17 to travel to Springfield to fight for HIV lives at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC)’s annual event Advocacy Day. Abuzz with excitement for the upcoming day, familiar faces shared greetings and hugs, like family members long...
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Which Health Care Superhero Are You?

May 11, 2017

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"We don't always have the choice of being sexperts."

April 25, 2017

by Cristal As a child of immigrants, I was taught to migrate in order to survive. In the past three years, I have bounced in between California, Chicago, and Mexico searching for both community and financial stability. One thing that I have learned as a migrating queer chicanx is that outside of protests (and sometimes even then) and queer+trans circles – we are constantly FORCED...
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By Ashley Brown 

 

Lillian Weir is a natural activist, whose strong beliefs and voice rise up to fight for what is right. For years she has marched in the Chicago Pride 

Parade, right in the thick of the crowd, waiving a flag and dancing in support of the rights of marginalized communities nationwide. She’s also loaned her innate activism to the C

hicago Teacher’s Union, the Women’s March in Chicago, marriage equality and for acceptance of all gender identities and sexualities. And she’s accomplished all of this by the young age of 13.  

So, when an opportunity to fundraise for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago presented itself, Lillian jumped at the chance. Lillian and her mother Cynthia both walk and fundraise for the Season of Concern team, a Chicago-based non-profit that provides care and support for those in the entertainment industry experiencing health-related emergencies and medical issues, including HIV and AIDS.

For Lillian’s first walk in 2016, even the rain couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm. Both Lillian and her mother were impressed by the energy, excitement and camaraderie of the teams and the sense of unity and acceptance that permeated the air. Lillian was particularly impacted by the diversity of identities represented.

“I believe people should be represented, so that was a really good experience for me,” she recalls. 

In particular, Cynthia remembers her daughter’s infectious enthusiasm.  

“She didn’t walk the 5k walk, she ran it,” recounts Cynthia with a laugh. “She would run ahead and we wouldn’t see her and then she’d run all the way back because she was so excited and having such a great time. Lillian jumped up at the end of the event and said ‘Let’s do this again every year; this is our tradition!’” 

Lillian agrees, and particularly remembers the excitement of creating a tangible impact for those living with and vulnerable to HIV to allow them to live with dignity and purpose. 

“The general experience of being there was enlightening,” Lillian remembers. “I thought it was incredible to be a part of that.” 

Lillian is excited to continue her involvement into 2017 and beyond, and hopes to continue to raise more funds and get more people involved in the fight to end new HIV infections and health inequity. While Cynthia helps her run her fundraising page, Lillian sets the goals and creates unique incentives to get people excited to give, including a home-cooked meal for people who give more than $100, as well as an original artwork by Lillian for the top contributor. She also spreads the word to family and friends and excitedly monitors her fundraising progress before the big day. To date, Lillian has already surpassed her fundraising goal. 

But despite her passion and dedication, Lillian is modest about her involvement and believes that everyone should stand up for what they believe in, regardless of age. 

“I don’t think age matters,” she says. “If you believe in something, you should protect it and defend it. Stand up for what you believe in.”