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News: National

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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United Healthcare discriminates against vulnerable populations by denying PrEP access

August 4, 2017

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago and partners demand United Healthcare halt their practices and policies that discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year, United Health Care began to send members letters denying access to Truvada prescribed for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP. The reason for denial? According to the letter, shown in full below or click here to view ,...
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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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Which Health Care Superhero Are You?

May 11, 2017

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Gallery: AFC shames Illinois House Republicans and their votes for the AHCA

May 5, 2017

Please distribute the graphics below calling out Illinois House Republicans and their votes for the AHCA, which will restrict health care access for millions in the U.S.
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SHAME: AFC denounces House Republicans' eleventh-hour push to repeal the ACA

May 5, 2017

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) strongly condemns House Republicans’ repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has provided access to comprehensive healthcare coverage to nearly 24 million Americans and over 1.2 million Illinoisans. The ACA dramatically increased health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Illinois.  If enacted by the Senate and signed into...
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Ava's Change4Youth collects votes to raise visual awareness of youth homelessness

April 19, 2017

Young activist Ava Santos-Volpe, age 12, is a girl on a mission. While working on a class leadership project two years ago, Ava asked a youth homelessness advocate to visit her school to discuss Chicago’s youth housing crisis. After learning more, Ava decided she needed to help — but didn't know how. That summer, while on a family trip to Florida, she spotted a parking meter collecting...
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Quiz: How screwed are we with the new health care plan?

March 24, 2017

Confused about the what the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will mean for you? Want to know how it differs from the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Take our quiz to learn more. Then call your legistor to ask them to vote NO on AHCA.  
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Choosing Life: How and Why to Disclose Your Status

March 10, 2017

By Cotrell Loftin Jessica Glaspie and I met in a small Starbucks in Mundelein, IL, on a Sunday morning shortly after I returned to Chicago on a 6-hour overnight bus trip. The precious caffeine helped fuel both my energy and an incredible conversation. In recognition of National Women's and Girls' HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, Glaspie, a powerful advocate featured in a prior Inside...
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Five things to know about women and HIV

March 10, 2017

By Sara Semelka and Pamela Tassin   1. Women’s experiences with HIV are unique, powerful and important   About 1 in 4 people living with HIV in the United States are women and 19% of the new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2014 were among women . Despite this, women are still often left out of conversations about HIV. HIV has impacted women since the...
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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.”