AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) is heartened by the dramatic decrease in the number of Chicagoans newly diagnosed with HIV in 2019, as the city’s public health department announced on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day. 652 Chicagoans were diagnosed with HIV in 2019, down from 760 in 2018, a 14% decrease. This year’s numbers build on a 29% decrease in new HIV cases since 2015.
The new data released today suggest that the city and state’s overall strategies to reduce new HIV cases are working. However, while declines occurred among all genders, age groups and races, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), deep and persistent racial health disparities remain. Although just over 30% of Chicago’s population, Black Chicagoans represent 56% of people newly diagnosed with HIV and 57% of people diagnosed with AIDS. Young Black gay and bisexual men, transgender women of color, Black women living in high-incidence areas and Latinx gay and bisexual men are also disproportionately impacted by HIV. New funding that the City of Chicago received from the federal government’s initiative to end the HIV epidemic is an opportunity to intensify programs that reach Black and Latinx communities.
In 2019, AFC, the city and state health departments, organizations across Illinois, people living with HIV and advocates across the state launched Getting to Zero Illinois. This community-built plan, which is supported by Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, aims to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 by connecting all Illinoisans living with HIV to comprehensive health care and ending new HIV cases. With continued progress toward fewer HIV diagnoses in Chicago and across Illinois, we can look ahead to achieving greater health equity and justice for people living with and impacted by HIV and AIDS.
In 2020, CDPH launched the HIV Resource HUB through partners AFC and Center on Halsted to provide a one-stop gateway to care for people living with HIV and people taking PrEP. Call the HIV Resource Hub at 1-844-HUB-4040.