News

News: Prevention

What you need to know about Getting to Zero in Illinois

September 20, 2017

By Sara Semelka  Illinois is making dramatic progress against HIV  New HIV cases have dropped by 28% from 2006 to 2015. Mother-to-child HIV transmission is nearly eliminated. In Chicago, there were fewer than 1,000 cases a year. Because of this, it’s possible to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Illinois.   Illinois has what it takes.  With health...
Read more...

Five ways to take control of your love life

September 13, 2017

by Nick Villarreal and Beto Soberanis  It’s impossible to know everything about sex. But learning to talk about sex and navigate HIV helps you take the reins of your sex life and your sexual health. Take a look at these ways to take control of your sex life.  1. Communicate with your partner. It’s the sexiest thing you can do.  It can be pretty...
Read more...

Beyond a campaign, a testing program that elevates young women of color

July 17, 2017

By Raven Feagins "Our Girls Matter." That’s the tagline for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC)'s  Project Elevate . The marketing pieces -- developed for young cisgender (cis) and transgender (trans) women of color, by young cisgender and transgender women of color -- feature photos of young women, with inviting,...
Read more...

Get your HIV status at these AIDS Run & Walk Chicago beneficiaries

June 26, 2017

Each June 27, National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) encourages people of all ages to get tested for HIV. Chicago has a vibrant network of testing sites at which you can #KnowYourStatus; plus, many of them are also beneficaries of AIDS Run & Walk Chicago's CommunityDirect program!  Here are two things you can do on National HIV Testing Day to build health equity in Chicago:...
Read more...

250 Fewer People with HIV Identified During Illinois Budget Impasse

May 26, 2017

The three organizations that coordinate HIV prevention services in Illinois outside Chicago – Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Illinois Public Health Association, and Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago – and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago are outraged to learn that new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) found the state budget impasse decreased...
Read more...

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...
Read more...

Amplified: Spreading tingle, taking calls for PrEP

March 5, 2017

This article highlights the successes the AIDS Foundation of Chicago achieved in 2016. Read more about our work in our  Annual Report . In the heart of the near South Side, The Village – University of Chicago Medicine, is poised to end the HIV epidemic, one call, tingle and appointment at a time. The Village, a project of the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, is home...
Read more...

2017 PrEP assessment compares IL Marketplace plans

November 28, 2016

People who are HIV-negative and vulnerable to HIV infection can take a medication to help prevent HIV. Currently, only one medication, Truvada, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of HIV. It is also recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health. The AIDS Foundation of...
Read more...

Five things providers said about PrEP at a family planning conference

August 25, 2016

by Sara Semelka and Pamela Tassin During the last week of July, Sara Semelka and Pamela Tassin from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Midwest HIV Prevention and Pregnancy Planning Initiative (MHPPPI) and #PrEP4Love projects participated in the 2016 National Reproductive Health Conference , hosted by the National Clinical Training Center for Family Planning. They spent three days...
Read more...

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.”