Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) is Illinois’s state-wide initiative to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. In coalition with people living with HIV, community-based organizations, health care providers, government agencies and others, we are working together toward a day where HIV transmissions are rare. To create a future where all people living with HIV can thrive, GTZ-IL is working hard to increase access to preventative medications like PrEP & PEP, decrease HIV stigma and miseducation, and combat inequalities experienced by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.
This robust agenda cannot be done alone! Some new and familiar faces have joined the GTZ-IL table. Meet the full Getting to Zero Illinois team who will be working hard to connect with and mobilize you, our community members, so that together we can get to zero by 2030.
Christian F. Castro (He/Him/Él) Senior Manager, GTZ-IL
“I’m excited to get to work more closely with an impressive community of folks from northern, central, and southern Illinois, who are advocating and providing essential, life-saving services that include HIV testing, linkage to care, PrEP and other supportive services to those who are living and vulnerable to HIV. I have several ideas that enhance community mobilization, but an important first step is to build relationships.” - Christian Castro
Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) welcomes Christian to the team as the newest senior manager and leader of the campaign. Christian has a long history of training, inspiring, and championing volunteers, students, and community leaders. Most recently, he served as a Research Project Manager at the Institute of Sexual Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) at Northwestern University. In that capacity, he coordinated the RADAR project, which you can learn more about here. While working with the GTZ-IL community, Christian is looking forward to centering the voices, experiences, and expertise of people living with or vulnerable to HIV.
Beyond work, he can be found enjoying quality time with his partner Keith and their beautiful dachshund, Trevor, traveling, watching sci-fi shows, and playing online tennis video games.
Learn more about Christian and his passion for GTZ-IL by reading his previous Q&A here.
Dominique Chew (she/her) Manager, Community Mobilization, GTZ-IL.
“Working with the Community Advisory Board (CAB) and engaging with our GTZ-IL network is both exciting to me and crucial to the work of GTZ. This plan is a huge undertaking and as the Manager of Community Mobilization, a goal of mine is for people across the state (not just Chicago) to know that they can play a role in Getting to Zero Illinois. There's a place for everyone in this work!” - Dominique Chew
Getting to Zero Illinois brings Dominique to the team as the new manager of community mobilization. She has extensive experience in training and facilitation, education, and advocacy. Prior to this role, Dominique worked at AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) in a different capacity—with the Ryan White training team, organizing and facilitating trainings for AFC's case management cohort. In her new role, Dominique is most excited to be doing exactly what her title says: mobilizing!
Outside of work, you can find Dominique baking delicious pastries, breads, and cookies; exploring Chicago's many bars and restaurants; and spending time with her partner, Jibran, and their dog, Kedzie.
Aces Lira (he/him) Manager, Policy & Advocacy
"I'm most excited about the level of creativity we can expect with our project partners. There is an innate human element to our work and with HIV advocacy we want to expand beyond clinical diagnosis, providing medication, etc. The bigger picture is clear when you look at the Getting to Zero Plan and that's thanks to the many contributions of community members throughout the state." - Aces Lira
While working closely with the GTZ-IL campaign, Aces serves as a new project manager to Policy & Advocacy legislative and strategic responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He focuses on the efforts to implement rapid start interventions for treatment and PrEP across the state. As a social worker by training, Aces has direct service experience in education, child welfare, and migrant aid which informs his policy advocacy work. Aces previously worked as the Economic Security Policy Fellow at Heartland Alliance, where he advocated for legislative and administrative intervention regarding the TANF and SNAP program.
After work, you might find Aces toggling through film cameras, cutting together collages, and sweating to make it onto a volleyball team.
The new GTZ-IL team is very excited to build valuable and impactful relationships with our advocates, so this will not be the last time you hear from them!
Learn more about GTZ-IL and their plan to get to zero by 2030 on their site here.
Want to meet the rest of our Policy & Advocacy team members? Visit our staff page.
Categorized under AFC news.