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News: Illinois

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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The Magic of Dr. Mildred Williamson

February 25, 2021

By Kennedy Brookins When I agreed to write a post about Dr. Mildred Williamson, who most recently served as the Executive Director of HIV Services at Ruth M. Rothstein's CORE Center, I thought this would center Mildred ’s career — the accomplishments, metrics and awards. And let’s be clear, she’s got all of those. But as I started talking with Mildred and her...
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Advocates and Legislators Introduce Bill to Decriminalize HIV in Illinois

February 24, 2021

Legislation was introduced in Springfield today to end criminal penalties against people living with HIV (PLWH), which serve only to stigmatize and discriminate against PLWH. Current Illinois law makes legal behavior – like consensual sex – illegal, and adds harsh penalties for ordinarily minor crimes such as sharing injection-drug equipment. Under current law, PLWH face the threat...
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HB 3653 and the path toward increased community safety

February 23, 2021

by Timothy Jackson, Director of Government Relations AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) applauds Illinois Governor JB Pritzker for signing House Bill 3653, the Illinois Criminal Justice Omnibus Bill —landmark legislation that brings significant criminal justice reforms to Illinois. These reforms include the end of cash bail, new police accountability standards, and new pretrial release...
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Proposed state budget misses the mark in addressing racial health disparities

February 22, 2021

2021 AFC State Budget Address Statement  Standing at the site of a former makeshift hospital on the Illinois State Fairgrounds used to treat those afflicted with the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered an unconventional — and virtual — State of the State and Budget Address on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Speaking in a room used to administer COVID-19...
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AFC program partners with online job platform RiseKit to expand resources for returning citizens

January 26, 2021

By Bailey Williams  Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, talks of record unemployment for the general U.S. population filled newspaper headlines and nightly newscasts. Alarm bells sound and talks of economic recovery continue, but not for everyone.   Almost two years before the pandemic, the Prison Policy Initiative found that the rate of unemployment for people...
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2021 Illinois Lame Duck Legislative Session Wrap-up

January 19, 2021

By Timothy Jackson, Director of Government Relations With the reckoning of historic racial injustices and the devastating effects of a global pandemic gripping the state and the nation as a backdrop, the Illinois General Assembly gaveled into a lame duck session beginning Friday, January 8, 2021 and ending minutes before the members of the 102nd Illinois General Assembly took their oath...
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Meet Tim Jackson: AFC's new Director of Government Relations

November 25, 2020

By Bailey Williams    Tim Jackson vividly remembers the first political campaign he worked on at age 12 in Jackson, Mississippi.   Tim was at home with his mother when they both heard a knock on their door. His mother went to answer it, and Tim observed nearby, listening to the conversation taking place. Their alderman was running for re-election and wanted their...
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