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News: Illinois

First-ever Getting to Zero Illinois Community Grant Program awards $350,000 in grants

June 17, 2021

T oday, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) is thrilled to join Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) in announcing the grant recipients for the first-ever Getting to Zero Illinois Community Grant Program, a pool of grants totaling $350,000. Fourteen organizations across the state have each received one-time grants of up to $30,000 for new projects that will help...
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Coming out and how it led me to advocacy

June 8, 2021

By Danie  Muriello  Everyone in the LGBTQ+ community has a coming-out story. I am a 69 -year-old transwoman, and I’d like to share just the beginning of mine. A little more than six years ago on a very ordinary Sunday afternoon, I was leisurely reading the paper, something I did almost every Sunday. One of the sections I really liked ...
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End of Session Report: 2021 State Legislative Session

June 7, 2021

By Timothy S. Jackson, AFC Director of Government Relations With a final gavel at  3:10 a.m., the 102nd Illinois General Assembly adjourned its Spring session on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. B lending the traditional bill debate from legislators on the Senate and House floors with new virtual committee hearings  and COVID-19 precautions,  the  hybrid...
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Digital drag shows: Pride in the age of COVID-19

June 1, 2021

By Ella Shapiro For over a century , drag has been an essential performance art within the LGBTQ+ community. While the roots of drag can be traced back to theatre performance in the late 1800s, the 1900s saw drag transform into a unifying space for the LGBTQ+ community in the face of oppression and criminalization. Drag shows have served as places to come together, be entertained, challenge...
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AFC and IL HIV Action Alliance celebrate Illinois Senate voting to end criminal penalties against people living with HIV

May 25, 2021

Today, the Illinois Senate voted to approve  House Bill 1063 , which would end criminal penalties against people living with HIV (PLWH). Under current law, PLWH face the threat of arrest, prosecution and incarceration even if they do not transmit HIV to another person. Additionally, PLWH may face longer sentences simply because of their HIV status.  “We are thrilled the Illinois...
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Senators Villivalam and Villanueva commend Illinois Senate for passage of the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act

May 21, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Today, the Illinois Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 818, the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act, legislation that will establish the requirements for public and charter schools that decide to teach comprehensive personal health and safety education (grades K-5) and comprehensive sexual health education (grades 6-12) in Illinois. “Everyday students across Illinois...
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Advocate with AFC during Virtual Advocacy Week starting Monday, April 19

April 16, 2021

By Coleman Goode  The dictionary definition of community is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” I like to think of community as a social group with commonalities such as norms, religion, values, customs or identity — basically, you all want the same thing for yourselves. The term “community mobilization”...
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How telehealth services have made it easier for Milani to attend therapy

April 1, 2021

By Ella Shapiro  Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Milani Varela, 33, used to take the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) twice a week to a clinic where she attended individual and group therapy sessions. When her clinic closed to support social distancing, Milani's therapy sessions moved to Zoom. This let Milani sleep in later, save money on transportation and reduce her risk of exposure...
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It’s time to end racial inequities in responding to COVID-19

March 25, 2021

Over a year into the pandemic, equitable progress has not been made to address the racial disparities in health outcomes that have existed and been exacerbated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, systemic racism made Black, Indigenous and Latinx/e communities deeply vulnerable to increased risk of illness, and as a result, we have seen disproportionate numbers of deaths from COVID-19 complications...
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How telehealth services have provided relief for Jo

March 11, 2021

By Ella Shapiro  For 35-year-old Chicago-based community activist Jo MaMa, attending their doctor appointments used to be a nightmare. At the time, Jo wasn’t comfortable with their HIV status being public. When Jo went to the doctor in-person, they felt they ran the risk of seeing someone they knew and compromising their privacy. As a result, Jo would experience severe anxiety...
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